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How do you lower eye pressure with exercise?

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In patients with open-angle glaucoma, moderate aerobic exercise, such as a quick 20-minute walk at least four times weekly, reduces eye pressure, according to Glaucoma Research Foundation. Exercises that lower the head or invert the body increase pressure and should be avoided, advises University of Maryland Medical Center.

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Not only does exercise help relieve pressure due to open-angle glaucoma, but activity also helps control diabetes and high blood pressure, explains GRF. Individuals with these conditions are more likely to develop glaucoma.

However, exercise does not help all glaucoma patients. Closed-angle glaucoma is not affected by exercise, UMMC states. Strenuous, high-impact activities are potentially harmful to people with pigmentary glaucoma. Exercise causes the iris to release pigment, which actually increases eye pressure.

A research study demonstrated that some people with glaucoma were able to lower their eye pressure 20 percent through exercise, reveals Glaucoma Associates of Texas. Prior to the study, patients were healthy but inactive. During the study, they engaged in 40 minutes of stationary bicycling, four times per week. Eye pressure improved in three months. The lowered pressure was maintained with three exercise sessions each week.

The exercise helped reduced pressure for years, GAT reports. However, when patients stopped exercising, benefits disappeared within two weeks. Glaucoma patients should consult their doctors for safe exercise recommendations.

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