Research Shows That Exercise Decreases Risk Of Age-Related Cataract And Resulting Blindness
: A combined study by Australian and Chinese researchers involving more than 170,000 individuals show conclusive evidence that regular physical exercise reduces the risk of age-related cataracts.
Age-related cataracts are the cause of blindness in an estimated 13 million individuals worldwide.
The research findings published in the International Journal of Ophthalmology
, involves medical researchers from University of South Australia and Xi'an Jiaotong University in China who analyzed data from six studies looking at how exercise reduces oxidative damage in the eye. https://www.ijo.cn/gjyken/ch/reader/view_abstract.aspx?file_no=20200418&flag=1
The study teams found a 10 percent reduction in age-related cataracts (ARC) among individuals who engaged in regular physical activity such as walking and cycling.
Dr Ming Li an epidemiologist from University of South Australia says physical activity reduces oxidative stress in the eye by inhibiting lipid degradation which results in cell damage.
Dr Li told Thailand Medical News via a telephone interview, "We know that exercise increases antioxidant enzyme activity which has all sorts of benefits, including limiting infections and inflammation in the eye.”
Past research have shown that long-term physical activity also elevates high-density lipoprotein or HDL, otherwise known as the 'good cholesterol', which may carry more antioxidants from plasma to the lens to prevent oxidative damage.
Furthermore physical exercise also improves insulin resistance and lipid profiles, both of which have been associated with an increased risk of age-related cataract.
Dr Li further added, "Age-related cataracts or ARC, are one of the most common causes of vision impairment and blindness in the world and although surgery is an effective option to recover vision, it is very costly and a financial burden for many patients."
Co-author Dr Hong Jiang from Xi'an Jiaotong University College of Medicine said, "The lens is highly susceptible to oxidative damage because of its high concentration of polyunsaturated fatty acid and its specific biological function. Although we do not completely understand the mechanisms underlying ARC, we do know that ageing and oxidative damage plays a crucial role in the development of the disease."
The medical researchers found that the risk of developing cataracts could potentially decrease by two percent for every hour of cycling or walking per day.
Dr Li commented, "Considering the fact that 24 to 30 percent of adults globally are inactive, these research findings will hopefully encourage older individuals to start exercising on a regular basis to save their eyesight.”
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