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UVA Researchers Say Exercise May Help Prevent Eyesight Loss

Researcher in white lab coat
Bradley Gelfand, Researcher at UVA's Center for Advanced Vision (Source: University of Virginia)

Researchers at the University of Virginia say for the first time they have experimental evidence that exercise can reduce the severity of macular degeneration.

Bradley Gelfand, a researcher at UVA’s Center for Advanced Vision Science says they thought a healthy lifestyle would help slow or prevent vision loss, but they wanted proof. "Our study found that exercise reduced the harmful overgrowth of blood vessels in the eyes of lab mice about 40%," Gelfand said. "This tangle of blood vessels is a key contributor to macular degeneration and several other eye diseases."

He says similar studies with people were inconclusive because they are notoriously bad “self-reporters.”

The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health, and they are seeking new grants to learn more. "We want to know why and how it happens and see if we can develop a pill for people too old to exercise," Gelfand said.

Ten million mostly older Americans suffer from macular degeneration.

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