In research that begs more questions than answers, scientists have found that people with vision loss are actually less active. What they haven’t definitively concluded, however, is which came first—the vision loss or lack of activity.
According to research reported in Reuters, the study looked at the physical activity of people with good vision, those who had vision loss in one eye and those with vision loss in both eyes.
People with good vision took about 9,700 steps each day and exercises on average for 20 minutes. Those with vision loss in one eye only took about 8,000 steps and exercised daily for only 15 minutes. Vision loss in both eyes reduced daily steps to 6,800 on average and daily exercise to 10 minutes.
Did Loss of Vision Come First? Or Inactivity?
Dr. Pradeep Ramulu, the lead author of the study, says that while there could be a link between lack of activity leading to vision problems, he believes the decreased activity is more likely a result of the vision loss.
People are scared of falling.
“What we found was the impact of vision wes very substantial compared to other diseases,” said Ramulu. The researchers found that once other factors were taken into account, those people with vision loss in both eyes had a 17 percent reduction in the number of steps taken daily and a 30 percent decrease in activity in general.
This isn’t necessarily groundbreaking research, as many of us could have hypothesized that people with vision loss would do less on any given day, simply out of fear or comfort. But the evidence does provide concrete numbers and validation of the hypothesis. This is why it is so important to adopt a macular degeneration diet to ensure that vision loss doesn’t occur later in life. AMD refers to the loss of vision in the center of the visual field due to retina damage, and usually occurs in older individuals.
“When one loses more and more vision, there’s just more restrictions in the built environment. Streets become harder to navigate, walkways and paths often have obstacles and difficult terrain. So it just adds to the complexity of trying to be physically active,” said James Rimmer, research director at the Lakeshore Foundation.
This decreased activity could put those people with vision loss at a greater risk of lifestyle-related diseases including type 2 diabetes, if they aren’t encouraged to get more activity and if they aren’t eating nutritiously. And many of these conditions can increase the risk of vision loss, leading to a vicious cycle.
The news is especially concerning when taking a look at the increase in vision-related problems since the year 2000. With an 89% increase in diabetic retinopathy, 25% increase in age-related macular degeneration, 19% increase in cataracts, and 22% increase in open angle glaucoma, it is especially important to know how to improve eyesight and maintain healthy eyes.