Increased hydration from regular exercise keeps away dry eyes

February 7, 2022
Increased hydration from regular exercise keeps away dry eyes

Scientists at the University of Waterloo, Canada, have determined that regular physical activity is an effective way to maintain ocular health. An unusual but no less meaningful benefit of physical activity is that it ensures the ocular surface remains well-lubricated and thus protects the eyes from infection-causing irritants like dust or dirt.

Our eyes are covered in tear secretions and tear film, which is an essential protective coating necessary for maintaining healthy ocular function. A healthy tear film comprises three layers – oil, water, and mucin; an unstable tear film causes the ocular surface to develop dry spots, leading to symptoms like itchiness or stinging and burning sensations.

To study the tear film, the scientists enlisted 52 participants and divided them into either an “athlete” or a “non-athlete” group. The former group was made to exercise at least five times a week while the non-athlete group would exercise for a maximum of once a week. The scientists then performed visual assessments of the participants eyes both before and five minutes after each session.

At the end, all participants were shown to have significant improvements in tear quantity and stability of tear films following each exercise session – physical fitness and duration of exercise was a factor in their response. The “athlete” group, in particular, were found to have a “much appreciable improvement” compared to the non-athlete group.

Heinz Otchere, a PhD candidate in vision science at the University of Waterloo, said while it can be challenging for people to regularly exercise whilst needing to work longer hours in front of screens, exercise can benefit “not just our overall well-being, but our ocular health too.”

Category: Education, Features

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