A new study has found that staying fit and regularly exercising can reduce the risk of vision and eye problems in diabetics. Vision problems are often a complication of diabetes, especially if it’s not well managed. The study found that diabetics who stay inactive have a higher risk of vision problems, compared to those who partake in physical activity.
The most common cause of vision loss in diabetics, diabetic retinopathy “involves changes to retinal blood vessels that can cause them to bleed or leak fluid, distorting vision,” according to the U.S. National Eye Institute.
The researchers tracked the outcomes of 282 American diabetes patients to assess the impact of exercise on their vision health.
The average age of the participants was 62, and nearly one-third of them had mild or severe diabetic retinopathy. The researchers used an accelerometer device to measure activity. On average, participants were active for 8.7 hours a day.
The researchers found that every 60-minute daily increase in physical inactivity increased the risk of mild or severe diabetic retinopathy by 16 percent. The researchers believe the association between a sedentary lifestyle and diabetic retinopathy may have to do with an elevated risk of heart disease, which can further increase the risk for diabetic retinopathy.
The study reinforces the importance of physical activity, especially in diabetics, as a means to keep possible health complications at bay.