For many individuals living with glaucoma, the diagnosis comes with a lot of uncertainty about what activities are safe to continue and what might need to be modified. Running is a popular exercise for its cardiovascular benefits and stress reduction. For most people, you can go running with glaucoma but with certain considerations in mind.
Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that cause damage to the optic nerve, affecting your vision. Optic nerve damage is often caused by an abnormally high pressure in your eye. Exercise can reduce intraocular pressure (IOP), which can benefit patients with glaucoma. However, it’s important to approach your exercise routine mindfully.
Physical activity such as running can lower your IOP temporarily. Moderate-intensity exercise, like brisk walking or jogging, can help reduce the pressure inside your eyes by improving blood flow to the retinal and optic nerve tissues. This doesn't mean it's a cure for glaucoma, but it can be part of a comprehensive approach to managing the condition.
Additionally, running can help you maintain a healthy weight, which is beneficial since obesity is a risk factor for increased eye pressure. Running also has widespread health benefits for your cardiovascular system, which also benefits your eyes.
While running can be advantageous, it's important to keep the following considerations in mind to ensure you're not putting your eyes at risk:
Before starting or continuing with a running routine, consult with Dr. Cory Bergman and our team for personalized recommendations based on the severity and specifics of your glaucoma.
High-intensity activities can increase IOP, so it may be advised to stick with moderate running. Incorporate warm-ups and cool-downs to avoid sudden spikes in eye pressure.
Dehydration can affect the eye's fluid balance. When running, carry water with you and take sips throughout your workout.
Use UV-protective sunglasses when running outside to protect your eyes from sun damage and reduce glare, which can be uncomfortable with glaucoma.
If you experience discomfort, such as eye pain or blurry vision during or after running, slow down and consult Dr. Bergman.
Certain types of running might be more suitable than others. Treadmill running allows you to control your pace and incline, making it easier to maintain a moderate intensity. Trail running can be a good option, too, but watch for uneven terrain that could pose a fall risk, indirectly affecting eye health.
Maintaining regular appointments with your ophthalmologist is key. Dr. Bergman will track the progression of your glaucoma and adjust your treatment plan as necessary, which includes guidance on your exercise regimen.
Running can be a part of your life if you have glaucoma, offering general health and specific benefits for eye health. For more information on living with glaucoma and maintaining an active lifestyle, call the office nearest you or schedule an appointment online.