Exercising Vision

Watching lab mice play on their wheels has provided valuable research material that suggests that aerobic type exercises may cause the progression of some eye diseases to slow right down.

Could it be that Age Related Macular Degeneration will one day be cured by introducing regular exercise as a long term preventative measure.


The AMD condition is the result of photoreceptors dying off. In the United States two million plus citizend have advance age related macular degeneration. Worldwide this is a frightening figure so any research that points in the direction of prevention is welcomed.

It is known that aerobic exercise helps to produce an important protein called BDNF or brain derived neurotrophic factor. this protein assist in cell growth and sustained health of cells. In this respect the study of the mice was designed to test the effects of aerobic play on degenerative retinal cells.

The control group of mice were afforded time out from an hour a day, five day a week exercise program that ran for a fortnight. After the bouts of exercise play the groups were exposed to bright lighting for 4 hours. Understandably the exposure resulted in three quarters of the group that were inactive  losing photoreceptors and function of the retina. The levels of BDNF in the exercised mice was also twenty per cent higher than the inertia mice.

After blocking the protein, it was found that the exercise was proved as neuroprotective for the photoreceptor nuclei, making this an initial report of exercising having a direct effect on eye health.