Exercise doesn’t just help you look better—it helps you see better.
That’s the word from a series of new studies, which have been working to develop clear answers around whether or not exercise can improve eyesight. The answer, from every study we’ve looked at, is a resounding yes.
In this article we look at the studies to build a list of ways to improve vision right now.
Health And Eyesight
Studies over the past decade have drawn clear links between regular exercise and a reduced risk of several common eye problems—including cataracts, wet age-related macular degeneration, and even glaucoma.
Other diseases that impact eye health, specifically type 2 diabetes, are also influenced. This is because a strong diet and exercise routine reduce the risk of obesity and help control type 2 diabetics’ symptoms. Symptoms that include damage to the blood vessels of the retina, and potential blindness.
Finally, several eye issues and eye diseases stem from high cholesterol and high blood pressure. When we look for ways of dealing with high blood pressure naturally, healthy eating and regular exercise are two of the most pivotal steps we can take.
How Can Exercise Improve Eyesight
Researchers have shown that regular exercise reduces the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by up to 70%. Patients were given detailed eye examinations every five years, and asked to track their exercise and lifestyle habits.
AMD—the term used to describe degenerative eye disease where the macula of the eye stops working—is the leading cause of vision loss in seniors. AMD can be divided into two class-types: wet and dry.
The study found that seniors who lead more physically active lifestyles, and exercise more than three times a week, had a 70% lower risk of developing wet AMD than their more sedentary counterparts.
Exercise and cataracts
A 2013 study established that even a brisk walk or run in the park can decrease the risk of age-related cataract. This was supported by a study run in 2016, which suggested a lack of physical activity was linked to an increased risk of cataracts.
Exercise and glaucoma
Glaucoma treatment involves lowering pressure in the eye, which studies have shown can also be achieved through moderate intensity exercise on a regular basis. The Glaucoma Research Foundation also suggests regular, ongoing exercise to help reduce eye pressure.
Food And Eyesight
“foods to improve eyesight”
The nutrients most recommended to improve our eye health are those rich in:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Beta Carotene
- Omega-3 fatty acids
In a study published in 2001, many of these compounds were shown to reduce age related decline in eye health by 25%. In 2013 the study was updated to include omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
Top 10 Foods for Eye Health
Oily fish are rish in omega-3 fish oils, which are a great source of EPA and DHA. Fish oil has also been known to reduce dry eye. Some examples of oily fish are tuna, salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines, and anchovies.
2. Nuts and legumes
Nuts contain high levels of vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids. They are an easy snack, and also support good heart health. The best nuts for supporting eye health include almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, peanuts, and cashews.
Similar to nuts, seeds contain good levels of vitamin E and omega-3s. Chia, flax, and hemp seeds are the best for supporting good eyesight.
4. Citrus fruits
Lemons, oranges, mandarins, and grapefruit have high levels of vitamin C—a vital antioxidant that benefits most of the systems in our bodies.
5. Leafy greens
Greens are high in lutein, zeaxanthin, and vitamin C. Kale, spinach, and collards are considered much better for our bodies than the various types of lettuce and cabbage.
We’ve all heard the saying about carrots helping us see in the dark. It’s true! Vitamin A and beta carotene plan an essential role in our vision. Vitamin A helps the retina absorb light, and beta carotene helps our body to make its own vitamin A.
7. Sweet potatoes
These are a tasty way to get more beta carotene and antioxidant vitamin E into your body.
Beef is rich in zinc, which is a compound found in the eye—especially the retina.
Eggs are a great source of vitamins C and E, zinc, lutein, and zeaxanthin, all of which support better eyesight.
Although not really a food, our eyes are made up of water, jelly, and protein, so it makes sense that water will help them.
There you have it. We’ve examined a handful of the studies that show us how exercise can improve eyesight—and how what we eat can support our eye health.
If you’re concerned about your eye health and vision, the first step is to talk with an eye health professional.