We already know that exercise lowers IOP over the long term.
This study shows a beneficial effect of aerobic exercise on Schlemm's canal, which is a key part of the aqueous humor outflow mechanism that maintains healthy IOP.
Purpose: Aerobic exercise has previously been reported to decrease intraocular pressure (IOP) in healthy subjects and there are concomitant morphological changes in the anterior segment of the eye including the Schlemm's canal. However, its effects on IOP and Schlemm's canal morphology in glaucoma patients needs further study.
This study investigates the effect of aerobic exercise on the IOP and Schlemm's canal dimension in both healthy and primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) eyes.
Methods: The area and diameter of Schlemm's canal and IOP were measured in 35 primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) patients (59 eyes) and 36 healthy subjects (72 eyes) before and after performing moderate intensity of aerobic exercise by running on a treadmill for 30 min. Schlemm's canal was imaged by swept-source optical coherence tomography (SS-OCT) for evaluation.
Results: In comparison with baseline values, mean IOP decreased significantly following aerobic exercise in both POAG and healthy eyes (both P < 0.001), in which the eyes of those with glaucoma showed a greater degree of reduction compared to healthy eyes (P = 0.002).
In comparison with baseline values, in both POAG and healthy eyes, the average cross-sectional area and diameter of Schlemm's canal significantly increased after aerobic exercise, supporting less outflow restriction of aqueous humor.
Among those with glaucoma, the significant reduction in mean IOP and increase in Schlemm's canal dimensions following aerobic exercise were observed in both untreated eyes (no glaucoma medications) and treated eyes (all P < 0.05), and there were no significant differences of such measurements between the two subgroups (all P > 0.05).
Conclusion: Aerobic exercise-induced reduction in IOP and an increase in Schlemm's canal dimensions in glaucomatous eyes as in healthy eyes. Further studies to evaluate the long-term effect of aerobic exercise on IOP control and Schlemm's canal morphology in POAG seem warranted.
Keywords: Aerobic exercise; Schlemm's canal; intraocular pressure; primary open-angle glaucoma.
- Aerobic exercise reduces intraocular pressure and expands Schlemm's canal dimensions in healthy and primary open-angle glaucoma eyes - PubMed
- PMID: 33402660
- PMCID: PMC8186587
- DOI: 10.4103/ijo.IJO_2858_20
- 2021 May