[tabi] a simple way to help prevent glaucoma

  • From: "Chip Orange" <Corange@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 3 Jan 2012 09:41:18 -0500

From a health news letter I receive called "Daily Health News":



Easy Trick That May Prevent Glaucoma


As you get older, you may be OK with the fact that your vision just
isn't what it

used to be. But losing sight altogether is something that nobody --
myself included

-- ever wants to imagine. That's why I was pleased when I heard that
there may be

a simple new way to prevent glaucoma. Because it's something that
anybody can do

-- exercise!

The new study, published in the October issue of

Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science

, came from University College London Institute of Ophthalmology in
England. To learn

more, I called an expert who carefully examined the study, Harry A.
Quigley, MD,

an ophthalmologist, the director of the Glaucoma Center of Excellence at
the Wilmer

Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in
Baltimore and author


Glaucoma: What Every Patient Should Know



Before we jumped into the research, Dr. Quigley gave me some background
about how

glaucoma develops. In glaucoma, there is slow, progressive damage to the
optic nerve

that can gradually lead to blindness if not treated. About 90% of
glaucoma cases,

he told me, are called


. The scariest part about open-angle glaucoma is that there are no
symptoms until

irreversible damage happens, so if the person doesn't get regular eye
exams, then

he won't realize that he has glaucoma until blindness begins to set in.
Some people

who develop glaucoma (but not all) have what's called high intraocular
pressure (IOP),

which is pressure in the eye.

This new study, Dr. Quigley told me, focused on a measurement of
something called

ophthalmic perfusion pressure

(OPP), which is the difference between your blood pressure and your IOP.
So if your

IOP is low, as you want it to be, then your OPP is higher (better). That
means that

your eyes are probably receiving more nourishing blood. But when your
OPP is low,

it means that circulation to and in the eyes is slowing -- which could
raise your

risk for glaucoma or worsen existing glaucoma. Keep in mind, said Dr.
Quigley, that

you can have a low OPP from either higher-than-normal IOP or
lower-than-normal blood

pressure (or both).

Researchers investigated the relationship between physical activity and
OPP. They

looked at self-reported information from 5,650 adult men and women from
about 15

years ago. Participants were grouped into one of two categories --
"active" or "less

active." Researchers cross-referenced each participant's level of
physical activity

with a measurement of OPP that was taken from the same people between
2006 and 2010.


Participants who had been "active" in the past had a 25% lower risk of
having low

OPP -- suggesting that they also had a lower risk of later developing
glaucoma. What

is especially uplifting about this discovery is that unlike taking drugs
or having

surgery, there is little risk involved in being active and exercising --
and it provides

many other benefits that are well-documented!


Now, of course, we all already know that exercise is, well, out of
sight, but I found

it intriguing that just someone's general level of activity, as opposed
to some fancy

specific eye exercises, can have such a pronounced effect on your eye
health. Dr.

Quigley noted that exercise improves overall circulation, which brings
better blood

flow everywhere, including to the eyes. And, he added, this doesn't mean
that you

have to hit the gym for vigorous workouts -- moderate activity, such as
brisk walking

that raises your heart rate for 20 minutes, is sufficient as long as you
do it most

days of the week.

Besides moving around more, don't forget to see an eye doctor regularly.
Dr. Quigley

advises everyone to start getting exams from an ophthalmologist (a
medical doctor

who can provide the full spectrum of eye care) at age 40, and depending
on what your

doctor advises, probably at least every one to two years after that.
When you reach

age 60, he said, you should get an eye exam annually, because age is a
risk factor

for glaucoma. And, he added, "It's especially critical for those with a
family history

of glaucoma, those who are of certain ethnic origins (African American,
Irish, Russian,

Japanese, Hispanic, Inuit and Scandinavian) and/or those who are
severely nearsighted,

because these are also risk factors."


Harry A. Quigley, MD, director of the Glaucoma Center of Excellence at
the Wilmer

Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore.


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