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Physical activity and occasional drinking found to be associated with decrease in vision impairment
Date:3/19/2014

A physically active lifestyle and occasional drinking is associated with a reduced risk of developing visual impairment, according to a study published online this month in Ophthalmology, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Visual impairment sight loss often caused by eye disease, trauma, or a congenital or degenerative condition that cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses is associated with a poorer quality of life and, when severe, loss of independence. In 2020, the number of people in the United States with visual impairment is projected to increase to at least four million. This is a 70 percent increase from 2000 and is due to the growing aging population and prevalence of age-related eye diseases.

To help determine ways to decrease the growing burden of visual impairment, researchers from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health examined the relationships between the incidence of visual impairment and three modifiable lifestyle behaviors: smoking, drinking alcohol and staying physically active. The research was conducted as part of the Beaver Dam Eye Study, a long-term population-based cohort study from 1988 to 2013 of nearly 5,000 adults aged 43 to 84 years.

The researchers found that over 20 years visual impairment developed in 5.4 percent of the population and varied based on lifestyle behaviors as follows:

  • Physically active persons (people who engage in regular activity three or more times a week): Over 20 years, 6.7 percent of sedentary persons and 2 percent of physically active persons developed visual impairment. After adjustment for age, these figures show a 58 percent decrease in odds of developing visual impairment in those who were physically active compared to those who were sedentary.

  • Occasional drinkers (those who have consumed alcohol in the past year, but reported fewer than one serving in an average week): Over 20
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Contact: Media Relations
media@aao.org
415-561-8534
American Academy of Ophthalmology
Source:Eurekalert

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