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Weightlifting 'link to eye risk'

Regular weightlifting may increase the risk of the eyesight-threatening condition glaucoma, research suggests.

Brazilian researchers found lifting heavy weights was linked to a temporary increase in pressure within the eye - especially when holding the breath.

They say that this could increase the risk of glaucoma, as the condition is more common in people subjected to frequent changes in eye pressure.

The study appears in the journal Archives of Ophthalmology.

Glaucoma is usually high pressure inside the eye that damages the optic nerve and can result in permanent vision loss
Normal-tension glaucoma leads to optic nerve damage and vision loss despite a normal pressure inside the eye
Thought to be caused by an unusually fragile optic nerve

Intraocular pressure - the pressure within the eyeball - is generally decreased after aerobic exercise, such as running and biking, and nonaerobic exercise, including weightlifting.

However, higher intraocular pressure has been reported during the Valsalva manoeuvre, in which air is forced against a closed windpipe and pressure increases in the chest.

This action occurs during coughing, vomiting, playing wind instruments - and sometimes weightlifting.

The latest research was led by Dr Geraldo Magela Vieira, of the Institute of Specialized Ophthalmology and UNIPLAC School of Medicine, Brasília.

They measured intraocular pressure during weightlifting in 30 men with no sign of glaucoma, ... continue > 

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Published: 12 September 2006      Ref: BBC News


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