Physical Exercise Reduces Eye Disease and Dementia

Exercise helps prevent eye diseasePhysical exercise is vital for eye health and overall health. Research shows the positive impacts of exercise on common eye conditions. What is the intricate relationship between exercise and eye health? Can regular physical activity reduce the risk of age-related eye diseases? What role does nutrition play? And, can physical exercise help stave off neurological disease, heart disease, and other chronic illnesses associated with aging? At Natural Eye Care, we want to support you with knowledge and practical tips for getting the exercise you need.

Physical Exercise and Age-Related Eye Diseases

Physical activity reduces your chances of developing heart disease. For example, regular exercise reduces high blood pressure and cholesterol.1 2 Exercise helps regulate blood sugar levels and reduces your risk of developing Type II Diabetes.3

Moderate Daily Exercise Routines

Activities like walking or swimming help keep your eyes healthy. These exercises boost oxygen levels in your cells and improve blood flow, which is important for good vision. Retinal vein occlusions, for example, are sudden blockages that can cause permanent vision loss.

If you want to go to a fitness center or do intense workouts, great! But you do not need fancy facilities or equipment to stay fit. Start with just 20 minutes of gentle exercise a day, four times a week.

Physical Exercise Ideas for Seniors

The following are some great ways of staying in shape and helping to maintain healthy eyes:

Walk or jog. Make sure you wear comfortable and supportive shoes designed for the activity. Pick a route that does not have hard surfaces like concrete, as they can be tough on your joints.

Rebounding. A rebounder is a mini trampoline. Gentle jumping on a rebounder keeps blood flowing and improves circulation, particularly in the legs and head. Rebounding is also a great way to stimulate the lymphatic system, which removes toxins from the body. If you need help balancing, get one that includes a bar you can hold. Or grab onto something stable while jumping.

Tai Chi is a gentle form of martial arts that involves slow, flowing movements. It improves balance, flexibility, and muscle strength. Great for seniors of all fitness levels! Take a class, get a Tai Chi DVD, or find exercise routines on streaming and YouTube.

Chair Yoga adapts traditional yoga poses to be done while seated or using a chair for support. It helps improve flexibility, strength, and relaxation without putting stress on joints. YouTube, streaming services, DVDs and classes are available.

Water Aerobics or aqua aerobics is a low-impact exercise performed in water, which provides resistance without putting strain on the joints. Perfect for improving cardiovascular health, strength, and flexibility.

Resistance Bands are inexpensive, portable, and can be used to perform a variety of strength-training exercises at home. They help improve muscle strength and can be adapted to suit different fitness levels. Look for instructions that come with the bands, check out a library book or DVD on resistance bands, and search for exercises on YouTube and streaming services.

Be sure to consult with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine, and prior to taking medication or supplements.

Exercise the Eyes, Too!

Eye Exercises stretch and strengthen the tiny muscles of the eyes. Doing even a few short eye exercise sessions per day can have a big impact on your eyes. Download Natural Eye Care’s free eye exercise eBook, which offers a collection of exercises designed to promote eye health and vision. This resource provides accessible and practical techniques to support eye wellness through simple exercises you can incorporate into your daily routine.

Physical Exercise and Eye Health

Regular exercise has been shown to have multiple eye and overall health benefits including reducing intraocular pressure, enhancing mitochondrial function, promoting ocular blood circulation, as well as mitigating ocular oxidative stress and inflammatory responses. A recent review considered the potential positive benefits of physical exercise for a wide range of common eye diseases and conditions, including dry eye disease, cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, myopia, and age-related macular degeneration.4

Aging, Vision, and Lifestyle

With aging comes changes to the body that impact our vision and overall health. They include:

  • Less-efficient digestion, leading to gassiness, bloating, and discomfort.
  • Poorer nutrient absorption, making proper nutrition even more important
  • Lower caloric needs, intensifying the pressure to eat healthy.
  • Circulation problems that can result in heart disease, heart attack, stroke, nerve damage in the hands and feet, peripheral artery disease, varicose veins, fatigue, weakness, dry or discolored skin, slow wound healing, and cognitive decline (possibly leading to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease).
  • Hormonal changes. For women: hot flashes, mood swings, dry eye disease, osteoporosis, and heart disease. For men: reduced energy levels, mood, muscle mass, bone density, and sexual function.

By being more attentive to eating habits, getting regular exercise, and taking targeted supplements, you can make the process of aging smoother and help maintain overall health and vision. Life expectancy is increasing, and the concept of what we can accomplish at any age is changing as well.

Exercise and Specific Eye Conditions

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Regular exercise throughout life has been shown to help significantly reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). One study suggests that people who used to exercise a lot, especially women, were less likely to have early signs of this eye problem.5 Another study looked at people who stayed active over 15 years. They were 70% less likely to develop AMD compared to those who were not active.6 Research has shown that physical activity also helps slow the progression of AMD. 7 Therefore, by staying active, you can lower your chances of getting AMD, or slow its progression if you already have it.

Diabetic Retinopathy

The association between physical inactivity and diabetes is well established. 8 Lifestyle intervention and exercise have been shown to reduce the incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus in high-risk individuals with impaired glucose tolerance by 58%. 9 Exercise has also been associated with improvements in vascular endothelial function.10 Therefore, physical activity is suggested to play a protective role in the development of advanced diabetic retinopathy.

Physical Exercise and Brain/Cognitive Health

Physical activity has been shown to protect against the development of neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease. 11 Exercise has also been shown to improve cognitive function in Alzheimer’s patients.12

Two studies published in 2019 clarify the best ways to exercise. In a ten-year review of the aerobic fitness of over 30,000 people, three groups were identified: those who remained in the lowest 20% of fitness measures over the entire ten-year period, those who moved in and out of that lowest percentile, and those who never were in the lowest 20% group. They found that people who remained fit throughout the ten years were 50% less likely to develop dementia. Moreover, and even more encouraging, they found that people who didn’t get in shape until middle age or later still enjoyed the benefits of markedly lowered risk of dementia.13

The second study focused more on the type of exercise. The researchers started with 64 sedentary men and women 60 or older. They measured fitness and cognitive capacity, especially memory, often an indicator of mild cognitive impairment. The subjects were divided into three groups: one to meet together and stretch, one to spend 50 minutes three times a week walking moderately on a treadmill, and the third to do interval walking.

In interval walking, the treadmill incline was increased more steeply for four-minute periods. The subjects had three minutes of easy walking and three minutes of walking in which their heart rates were about 90% of the maximum for each person’s condition. After twelve weeks, the results were striking.

Compared to continuous moderate walking, the interval walkers showed marked improvements in both physical endurance and memory performance. The more fit they became, the more their memory improved.14

A 2020 study reported that exercise causes the liver to increase the amount of a special protein in blood plasma, GPLD1, (glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-specific phospholipase D1). GPLD1 enhances messaging and related enzyme cascades that support the aged brain by improving cognitive function and impaired neurogenesis capacity.15

Physical Exercise, Mood and Anxiety

Studies show a positive relationship between exercise and mood. For example, research has found decreases in the risk of incident depression16 and improved symptoms in persons with pre-existing depression or anxiety.17

Potential Mechanisms Linking Diet and Cognitive Function

While the precise molecular mechanisms underlying the impact of diet on epigenetics, defined as environmental effects on genetic changes, remain elusive, it is well-established that the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) system is highly susceptible to epigenetic modifications, thereby affecting cognitive function. Dietary nutrients undergo metabolic transformations, yielding biologically active molecules capable of targeting specific epigenetic sites within cells. Consequently, these nutrients can modulate the epigenome, potentially rectifying aberrant gene expression patterns, thus laying the groundwork for an “epigenetic diet” with therapeutic or chemopreventive applications.18 Furthermore, investigations into genomic imprinting have shed light on how dietary influences shape DNA methylation profiles, elucidating the role of epigenomic responsiveness to environmental stimuli, particularly diet, in modulating both positive and negative disease susceptibility.19

Neurogenesis and Lifestyle

Neurogenesis is the brain’s process of creating new neurons, which helps it renew and improve itself. Before the 1990s, it was believed that the brain stopped growing and couldn’t generate new brain cells. However, in 1998, researchers discovered that neurogenesis continues throughout life.20 Factors like environment, exercise, and diet can either stimulate or hinder neurogenesis and hippocampal plasticity.21 People have different rates of nerve cell regeneration, influenced by lifestyle factors such as diet, relationships, mental health, stress, toxin exposure, and exercise type and amount. Providing a stimulating environment for the brain boosts BDNF levels, which in turn promotes neurogenesis and neural growth.

EyeMax Mono Implant for Macular Degeneration

A groundbreaking injectable eye implant called “EyeMax Mono” introduces ‘wide-screen vision’ for people with intermedia and advanced Age-Related Macular Degeneration. 22 23 The team was led by Bobby Qureshi and Professor Pablo Artal, an optics expert at the University of Murcia in Spain.

Previously, implants for AMD redirected light rays to different areas of the macula. However, the older technique sacrificed peripheral vision. The innovative curvature of EyeMax Mono projects images across the entire macula, offering unparalleled all-round vision. This procedure takes only ten minutes and, for the first time, can be performed on those with cataracts. This procedure does not halt the ongoing degeneration of vision caused by Macular Degeneration. Therefore, EyeMax Mono recipients must still manage the condition and preserve vision through healthy lifestyle choices.


The benefits of exercise for eye health are undeniable. Physical activity reduces the risk of age-related eye diseases and enhances cognitive function and mental well-being. Regular exercise is key to preserving vision and overall well-being.

Suggested Supplements

Advanced Eye & Vision Support Formula (whole food) 60 vcaps

Dr. Grossman’s Meso Plus Retinal Support and Computer Eye Strain Formula with Astaxanthin 90 vcaps

Dr. Grossman’s Advanced Eye and Dr. G’s Whole Food Superfood Multi1 20 Vcap Combo – 2 months supply

Retinal Support (wild-crafted herbal formula) 2 oz

Nitric Oxide Supplement – helps promote increased oxygen through the body and eyes.

NMN Wonderfeel Capsul 60 vegcaps

Dr. Grossman’s Premium Turmeric Vcaps (Organic)

Brain and Memory Power Boost 120 caps

Cognirev Extra Strength 2 oz Oral Spray

Discounted Packages

Brain and Memory Support Package 1

AMD Package 1 (3-month supply)

Recommended Books

Natural Eye Care: Your Guide to Healthy Vision and Healing

Natural Brain Support: Your Guide to Preventing and Treating Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and Other Related Diseases Naturally

Note: Consult with your physician or other health care professional before beginning a fitness plan, or taking medication or nutritional, herbal or homeopathic supplements.

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