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Feature: Exercise and Glaucoma

It has long been known that various physical activities can have an effect on the level of intraocular pressure (IOP) ' the pressure within the eye that is a critical factor in the management of glaucoma. Exercises where the head is below the heart for prolonged periods of time (as is the case in some yoga exercises) are not recommended because they can cause the IOP to rise and likewise the playing of instruments such as the trumpet, where very high pressures are required are also not advised.

It is therefore good to know that there are some things we can do to help increase and maintain our fitness that have a beneficial effect on IOP. Recent research published in the journal Ophthalmology looked at the effect of aerobic exercise (specifically jogging) on IOP. They examined people with and without glaucoma and measured their IOP before and after exercise. The subjects of this research were treated with a variety of glaucoma medications including beta blockers, prostaglandins and prostamide analogues and alpha 2 agonists.

They found that in all cases there were statistically significant reductions in the level of IOP during exercise.

In conclusion they found that 'There is no ocular restriction for simple glaucoma patients in performing aerobic physical activity.

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