Exercise and Your Eyes: A Complete Guide

Accepting New Patients Near Toms River, Brick, Manchester, Stafford & Throughout New Jersey

Posted: April 13, 2021

While it’s important to stay active, the relationship between physical fitness and your eyes isn’t as straightforward as it may seem. Some workouts can aggravate an existing eye condition, and others can do more harm than good if you’re recovering from vision correction surgery. There are even certain activities that increase your risk of eye-related issues and injuries.

Our board-certified ophthalmologists want you to stay safe while working up a sweat. Here are some guidelines that can help.

Exercising with an Eye Condition

It’s always a good idea to be mindful of how your lifestyle can affect your eye conditions. This is particularly true when it comes to engaging in physical activities. Working out will not make a cataract worse, for example, but certain exercises should be avoided if you have glaucoma or a retinal disorder.

Weightlifting, core work, and head-down yoga poses can all raise the pressure inside the eye. Aerobic exercises are generally a better choice for those with glaucoma because these moves tend to have the opposite effect. Meanwhile, people with retinal conditions like high myopia should typically avoid sports that involve blows to the head or the potential for whiplash.

Resuming Exercise after Eye Surgery

After virtually any eye surgery, there are going to be a few activity restrictions you’ll need to follow to ensure a smooth recovery. Always ask our doctors before resuming any type of exercise.

In general, it’s best to avoid:

  • Swimming
  • Strenuous activities that elevate your heart rate
  • Weight lifting
  • Head-down yoga positions

Eye Injuries and Sports

April is Sports Eye Safety Month. Every year in America, nearly 30,000 people suffer a sports-related eye injury serious enough to warrant a visit to the emergency room. Basketball is the leading cause of sports eye injuries, one study found, followed by baseball, softball, and airsoft rifles.

Wear protective sports glasses for basketball, racquet sports, soccer, and similar activities. Be aware of the risks that come with boxing and full-contact martial arts. And wear a helmet, face mask, or face shield to protect your eyes during ice hockey or lacrosse.

Get Personalized Advice from Our Eye Doctors

Our board-certified ophthalmologists, optometrists, and eye doctors will happily provide personalized recommendations for protecting your eyes during exercise. Call 732-349-5622 to schedule an appointment. We have offices in Toms River, Brick, Barnegat, and Marlboro, New Jersey.