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Worldwide Medical Insurance News: Exercise 'reduces glaucoma risk'

Expatriates may wish to engage in exercise to promote good vision, it has been said.

As well as potentially reducing international private medical insurance premiums, an expert from the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has stated working out can promote good vision.

RNIB eye health campaigns manager Clara Eaglen claimed it can help to reduce pressure felt in the eye, which is useful when controlling glaucoma or similar conditions.

Furthermore, a recent study published in the Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science journal indicated that higher levels of physical activity are linked with a long term beneficial effect on reduced ocular perfusion pressure, which is known to be a risk factor for the development of glaucoma.

When the optic nerve is damaged by pressure or weakened in another way, this condition occurs, with vision eventually severely impacted.

This ailment often has "no noticeable symptoms" in its earlier stages, so many sufferers only seek medical assistance when they experience significantly deteriorated vision, the expert pointed out.

"Once lost, this sight cannot be restored," she continued.

Ms Eaglen recommended visiting ocular specialists regularly to undergo eye tests, as this is "the best way" to spot eye conditions at an early stage.

She claimed people with a family history of glaucoma should consider this advice "particularly important".

Many individuals can retain good eyesight if they have the right treatment as soon as possible, so "early detection is crucial", the expert pointed out.

Other risk factors for glaucoma include smoking, poor diet choices and exposure to direct sunlight, Ms Eaglen added.

RNIB notes that age is also closely related to the development of this condition, with it very rarely affecting individuals younger than 40 but with five per cent of people over 65 suffering from primary open angle glaucoma (POAG).

People with an African heritage are also more likely to have POAG and this factor is also related to an earlier development of the condition and greater severity.

Individuals with diabetes or those who are particularly short sighted similarly have a higher risk of suffering from glaucoma.

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