The Power of Exercise: Protecting and Improving Eye Health

Regular physical activity can have significant benefits for your eyes, reducing the risk of diseases and improving overall eye comfort.

Exercise is widely known for its positive effects on physical and mental health. It can reduce the risk of various diseases, improve cardiovascular health, and boost mood and cognitive function. However, recent research suggests that exercise can also play a crucial role in protecting and improving eye health. With millions of Americans suffering from vision impairments, understanding the impact of exercise on eye health is more important than ever.

Exercise prevents eye diseases:

As we age, our eyes become more vulnerable to diseases that can cause vision loss. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma are among the most common eye conditions affecting older adults. Regular exercise has been found to help ward off these conditions and strengthen the eyes, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Even individuals already suffering from eye diseases have reported significant improvements and a lower risk of complications after adopting a regular exercise routine.

Exercise improves eye comfort:

Dry eyes can be a source of discomfort and frustration for many individuals. However, exercise has been shown to promote stronger tear film production, which keeps the eyes moist and protects the cornea. A 2022 study published in Experimental Eye Research found that individuals who exercised at least five times a week experienced better tear production and quality compared to those who exercised less frequently or not at all. Adequate tear production not only prevents dryness and blurred vision but also helps in the healing process of eye injuries.

How to exercise for eye health

To reap the benefits of exercise for eye health, it’s never too late to start incorporating physical activity into your routine. You don’t need to engage in intense workouts; even moderate exercise can have a positive impact. The Department of Health recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week for adults. This can include activities like speed walking, cycling, water aerobics, doubles tennis, or even household chores like gardening or mowing the lawn.

For those who prefer more vigorous workouts, 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week is sufficient. Running, swimming laps, or playing basketball are excellent options to get your heart rate up and improve eye health.

Here are some additional tips for exercising to promote eye health:

1. Create a schedule: Establish a regular exercise routine by allocating 30-minute workouts on weekdays, giving yourself weekends off.

2. Find a workout partner: Having a workout partner can provide motivation and make exercise more enjoyable. Consider playing a sport or going for a long walk with a friend.

3. Protect your eyes: Always wear sunglasses outdoors to shield your eyes from harmful UV rays. Additionally, use protective eyewear during activities that pose potential hazards, such as playing sports or doing yard work.

4. Don’t smoke: Smoking not only increases the risk of lung cancer but also leads to severe eye damage and potential blindness.

5. Check family history: Inquire about any family history of eye disease to be aware of potential risks and work with your doctor on preventive measures.

6. Regular eye exams: Schedule an eye exam at age 40, even if you haven’t experienced vision issues before. For adults aged 65 and older, regular eye exams every one to two years are recommended.


Regular exercise offers numerous benefits for overall health, including the protection and improvement of eye health. By incorporating moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or vigorous workouts into your routine, you can reduce the risk of eye diseases and enhance eye comfort. Remember to wear sunglasses, avoid smoking, and prioritize regular eye exams to maintain optimal eye health. So, get out there, get moving, and give your eyes the care they deserve. Your body and your eyes will thank you for it.






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