Good News for 'Occasional' Drinkers and Exercisers: You May Not Lose Your Vision As You Age

We all know physical activity is practically commanded by the Bible in the way we're all ordered to practice it.  It can prevent breast cancer, heart disease, diabetes, you name it, even Alzheimer's, according to some studies. 

And now it's being touted as a way, along with occasional drinking (?), to keep your eyesight strong well into old age. reports that a physically active lifestyle and occasional drinking "are associated with a reduced risk of developing visual impairment."

(Does this mean we should all become "occasional" drinkers to save our eyes?)

But it's not just losing your sight we should be worried about, the Web site notes.  It could also affect the way, and how well, we live.

Visual impairment – sight loss often caused by eye disease, trauma, or a congenital or degenerative condition that cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses – is associated with a poorer quality of life and, when severe, loss of independence, according to 

Research has shown that over 20 years visual impairment developed in 5.4 percent of the population and varied based on lifestyle behaviors.  

Of people who engage in regular physical activity three or more times a week, over 20 years, 6.7 percent of sedentary persons and 2 percent of physically active persons developed visual impairment, a 58 percent (adjusting for age) decrease in odds of developing visual impairment in those who were physically active compared to those who were sedentary.

For those who have consumed alcohol in the past year, but reported fewer than one serving in an average week, over 20 years, 11 percent of non-drinkers (people who have not consumed alcohol within the past year) developed visual impairment while 4.8 percent of occasional drinkers did so, a 49 percent decrease in odds of developing visual impairment in those who were occasional drinkers compared to those who consumed no alcohol. 

So does this mean we should drink if we exercise a lot?  Probably not.  

“While age is usually one of the most strongly associated factors for many eye diseases that cause visual impairment, it is a factor we cannot change,” newswise quotes Ronald Klein, M.D., MPH, lead researcher of the study. “Lifestyle behaviors like smoking, drinking and physical activity, however, can be altered. So, it’s promising, in terms of possible prevention, that these behaviors are associated with developing visual impairment over the long term"


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