Why Running May Be Good For Your Eyes

As we age, we start to lose everything from bone density, to hearing and eyesight. Macular degeneration is one of the most popular age related illnesses that we all face as we get older. In years past, the only way to really prevent the onset of macular degeneration was to eat healthy, have regular check ups with doctors and hope for the best. Now, new research suggests that physical activity might protect our eyes as we age.


Macular degeneration occurs when neurons in the central part of the retina start to deteriorate. The study conducted, showed that those who were middle aged or older that ran for long distances had the least likelihood of developing the disease.

Physical activity and exercise increases the levels of substances in the body known as growth factors in the bloodstream and in the brain that contribute to eye health. Specifically BDNF or brain derived neurotrophic factor contributes to the health and function of neurons and also thanks to this study, is found to improve brain health and cognition after regular exercise. Lengthy amounts of time spent running, particularly outside in the sunlight has been proven in tests to contribute to slowing the process of macular degeneration and to improving eye health. Retinal neurons are better retained through light therapy and the neurons firing that comes with deliberate exercise.

These results are still yet to be verified in humans completely as most of the testing was done on mice. This being said, the results that all of the subsequent testing yielded was conclusive that eye health is indeed preserved far better when exercise and light are involved. As of this moment, the growth factors needed for eye health are only found within the body and cannot be artificially made in order to help those who cannot participate in physical activity, but the future is the key to developing this.


Consult your primary care physician or chiropractor for any medical related advice.

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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Eivind Sorgenfryd

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