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Rae Huang, Mark Rosenfield; Effect Of Exercise On Refractive State, Accommodation And Intra-Ocular Pressure (IOP). Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2011;52(14):2839.
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Several recent studies have demonstrated that an increase in the number of hours spent outdoors is associated with reduced myopia progression. However, the mechanism underlying these changes is unclear. One suggestion is that physical exercise could affect refractive development, either through a change in the accommodative response or IOP. Accordingly, the aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of both isotonic and isometric exercise on these ocular parameters.
20 young, healthy subjects participated in 3 trials, each of which was separated by a period of at least 10 minutes. In the first trial, subjects spent 10 minutes exercising on a stair climbing machine while in the second session, they were required to maintain an unsupported squat position for a continuous 2 minute period. In a third control condition, subjects watched television in a seated position for 10 minutes. Before and immediately after each trial, the following parameters were measured: (i) systolic and diastolic blood pressure, (ii) heart rate, (iii) distance refractive error, (iv) accommodative response to 3, 4 and 5D stimuli and (v) IOP. Both refractive error and accommodation were measured objectively using a Grand Seiko WAM-5500 autorefractor while IOP was assessed with a hand-held Tonopen.
A significant increase in systolic blood pressure (142mmHg vs 112mmHg; p=0.000) was observed following the stair climbing exercise while significant increases in heart rate were recorded following both the stair climbing (105 vs 65 beats/min; p=0.000) and squatting (83 vs 73 beats/min; p=0.05) trials. However, no significant changes in IOP, distance refractive state or accommodative response were noted following any of the 3 conditions.
Brief periods of exercise do not produce significant changes in refractive state, accommodation or IOP. While a cumulative effect may exist following longer or multiple exercise sessions, there is no support for the proposal that physical exercise will alter refractive error development or progression.
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