Being physically active and having an occasional alcoholic drink both seem to reduce the risk of developing vision problems as you age. Researchers from the University of Wisconsin noted that visual impairment in the U.S. population is projected to increase by 70 percent between the year 2000 and 2020. They attributed most of these projected changes to the expansion of the aging population and the prevalence of age-related eye diseases. The investigators looked at the relationships between the incidence of visual impairment and smoking, drinking alcohol and staying physically active in an ongoing study of nearly 5000 adults aged 43 to 84. They found that only two percent of physically active participants developed visual impairments compared to 6.7 percent of those who were sedentary. After adjusting for age, the researchers found that physically active study participants had a 58 percent reduced risk of developing eye problems. And here’s a surprise: only 4.8 of study participants who drank alcohol occasionally (defined as having consumed alcohol in the previous year, but averaging less than one drink a week) developed visual impairment compared to 11 percent of non-drinkers. Heavy drinkers and smokers also had a higher risk of vision impairment than study participants who never drank heavily and never smoked, but the association was not statistically significant.
Want To Age Gracefully?
It's not about the lines on the face - it's about the wisdom behind them. Don’t lament the passing of the years, celebrate all you have achieved, learned and earned, for your benefit and the benefit of others. Begin today - start your 14-day free trial of Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging now, and save 30% when you join!
Ronald Klein, et al, “Relation of Smoking, Drinking, and Physical Activity to Changes in Vision over a 20-Year Period,” Ophthalmology, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2014.01.003