Keeping an active lifestyle appears able to reduce the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness in the elderly.
"Engaging in an active lifestyle or walking more ... reduced the risk of developing exudative AMD over 15 years by 70% and 30%, respectively," Michael Knudtson, of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, said in a report published online last week in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.
Knudtson and his team studied the effect of exercise on 4,000 men and women in Beaver Dam, Wis., over 15 years. The volunteers were ages 43 to 86 when the study started in 1988 to 1990. They were questioned about how much exercise they did and assessed every five years.
The researchers said they could not rule out other factors but added that the report suggests regular physical activity, such as walking, may have a protective effect.