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Small steps to healthy eyes

People who lead an overall healthy life by exercising, eating right and not smoking, run a significantly lower risk of eye degeneration, a major cause of visual impairment in older adults, says a study.

health and fitness Updated: Dec 27, 2010 00:57 IST

People who lead an overall healthy life by exercising, eating right and not smoking, run a significantly lower risk of eye degeneration, a major cause of visual impairment in older adults, says a study.



Exercise and diet each reduced the risk, but both combined, along with a lack of smoking, caused the risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) to fall by more than 70%, says study author Julie Mares, at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. “Relatively small things could make a difference,” said Mares.



Macular degeneration can make it difficult or impossible to read or recognise faces. For the study, published in Archives of Opthalmology, researchers reviewed information about diet, exercise and smoking from 1,313 women between the ages of 55 and 74.



The results showed that even 10 hours per week of light exercise, including housework, gardening and walking — or 8 hours of moderate exercise a week, lowered the risk of AMD since diet and exercise lower blood pressure, which can protect the eyes from degeneration.