Objective: To evaluate the effect of weight lifting on intraocular pressure (IOP).
Methods: Subjects performed 4 repetitions of a bench press exercise in 2 ways: in mode I (right eyes), the breath was held during the last repetition; in mode II (left eyes), subjects exhaled normally during the last repetition. The IOP was measured with an electronic tonometer during the fourth repetition in both modes while the subject sustained the exercise.
Results: Mean IOP during exercise in mode I increased by 4.3 +/- 4.2 mm Hg (P<.001, paired t test; range, -3.6 to 17.7 mm Hg). In mode II, mean IOP increased by 2.2 +/- 3.0 mm Hg (P<.001, paired t test; range, -6.0 to 8.7 mm Hg). The IOP increased in 90% of subjects in mode I and in 62% in mode II. An increase in IOP greater than 5.0 mm Hg was observed in 9 subjects (30%) in mode I and in 6 (21%) in mode II. In 2 subjects, IOP during exercise mode I was markedly increased (>10.0 mm Hg).
Conclusions: The IOP increases significantly during a bench press exercise. Breath holding during the exercise leads to a greater IOP increase.