Reviewing exercise and IOP

June 17, 2024 Staff reporters

A research team from the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital in Dublin, Ireland, found that certain types of exercise and physical activity result in transient reductions in intraocular pressure (IOP) and may have a beneficial effect on glaucoma severity and progression. 


The team conducted a comprehensive literature review of the Medline, EMBASE and Cochrane libraries, identifying 16 original studies investigating the effect of exercise on IOP and glaucoma. The found that moderate-intensity aerobic exercise resulted in transient reductions in IOP, while high-intensity resistance exercise and weight-lifting led to transient elevations in IOP.  


“There is evidence to suggest that exercise and higher levels of fitness may be protective against the development of glaucoma. In addition, increased daily physical activity may be associated with less visual field progression in patients with glaucoma,” they reported in the Journal of Glaucoma, noting that while secondary causes of glaucoma were included in some of the studies, the findings were largely applicable to primary open angle glaucoma.