Glaucoma is an eye condition that is caused by the optic nerve being damaged to the extent that it detaches from the eye. The disease is caused by an increase in the intraocular pressure (IOP) on the eye’s optic nerve.
Scientist’s have discovered that weightlifters are at risk of developing glaucoma. Research conducted suggests that weightlifting temporarily initiates intraocular pressure (IOP) on the eye.
Pressure on the eye appears to increase further if a weightlifter inhales and holds his or her breath for a certain period of time when participating in this type of exercise.
However, if weightlifters breathe normally during exercise the pressure on the eye is not as severe and appears to affect fewer participants. Figures appear to show a 90 percent increase in intraocular pressure on the eye when the participants of the study held their breath during the exercise session, and only a 62 percent rise in IOP when they did not hold their breath. Consequently, it appears that breathing normally during weight lifting exercise should be advised.
Approximately 2 out of 100 people, aged of 40, living in the United Kingdom, suffer from Glaucoma. An increase of fluid within the eye facilitates pressure on the eye’s optic nerve. The disease has no cure and can ultimately lead to blindness.
Symptoms of Glaucoma are difficult for the individual to detect. However, some early symptoms can be loss of peripheral vision, headaches, redness within the eye, and eye pain.
So is weight lifting safe? A Brazilian team of scientists that researched this matter, state that ultimately not enough studies have, as yet, been carried out to support the hypothesis that weightlifting causes glaucoma. Dr. Robert Ritch, from the department of Ophthalmology in New York, agrees and states that research into this matter is ultimately inconclusive. He qualifies this by arguing that glaucoma can be caused by frequent fluctuations in eye pressure. Consequently people with glaucoma should avoid weightlifting and be warned of the potential dangers associated with this type of exercise.
The Glaucoma Associates of Texas advise a less strenuous exercise regime for glaucoma sufferers, and for potential glaucoma sufferer. These include cycling and walking. They note that exercise can increase pressure on the eye in certain cases. However, they balance that argument by stating that people who participate in regular light exercise can prevent a range of ailments such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. Some if not most people at risk from these types of illnesses have a higher chance of contracting glaucoma. Consequently, whilst regular exercise does not directly prevent glaucoma, it can do so indirectly.
A consultation with your optometrist is advised if you are planning to start exercising or feel you might be at risk through and/or want to change your exercise regime. An eye doctor can carry out tests and discuss the pros/cons for your own situation and suggest other possible changes you might make to your lifestyle, such as diet etc.
This article was written by Nigel Ward, a freelance writer, and reviewed
eye care specialists www.LensShopper.co.uk.