Effects and potential mechanisms of exercise and physical activity on eye health and ocular diseases

Front Med (Lausanne). 2024 Mar 22:11:1353624. doi: 10.3389/fmed.2024.1353624. eCollection 2024.


In the field of eye health, the profound impact of exercise and physical activity on various ocular diseases has become a focal point of attention. This review summarizes and elucidates the positive effects of exercise and physical activities on common ocular diseases, including dry eye disease (DED), cataracts, myopia, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy (DR), and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). It also catalogues and offers exercise recommendations based on the varying impacts that different types and intensities of physical activities may have on specific eye conditions. Beyond correlations, this review also compiles potential mechanisms through which exercise and physical activity beneficially affect eye health. From mitigating ocular oxidative stress and inflammatory responses, reducing intraocular pressure, enhancing mitochondrial function, to promoting ocular blood circulation and the release of protective factors, the complex biological effects triggered by exercise and physical activities reveal their substantial potential in preventing and even assisting in the treatment of ocular diseases. This review aims not only to foster awareness and appreciation for how exercise and physical activity can improve eye health but also to serve as a catalyst for further exploration into the specific mechanisms and key targets through which exercise impacts ocular health. Such inquiries are crucial for advancing innovative strategies for the treatment of eye diseases, thereby holding significant implications for the development of new therapeutic approaches.

Keywords: exercise; inflammation; ocular diseases; oxidative stress; physical activity.

Publication types

  • Review

Grants and funding

The author(s) declare financial support was received for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article. This research was funded by the grants from National Natural Science Foundation of China grant numbers (82101125, 81974133, and 82271089).