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Jogging may help protect eyesight

The exercise is found to decrease the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts in two studies of regular runners.

February 16, 2009|Jeannine Stein

Add vision protection to exercise's list of benefits.

In two new analyses based on the National Runners' Health Study, one found that people who ran an average of 2 to 4 kilometers a day (1 mile equals 1.6 kilometers) had a 19% decrease in their risk of age-related macular degeneration, when compared with people who ran less than 2 kilometers per day. Those who ran more than 4 kilometers per day had a 42% to 54% decrease in risk. The other analysis found that men who ran 64 or more kilometers a week had a 35% lower cataract risk than those who ran less than 16 kilometers per week. Paul T. Williams, a staff scientist with the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and author of both studies, believes that exercise could provide similar protective benefits for the eyes as it does for the heart and other systems.

"There are overlaps," he says. The study appeared in January's Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science.

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jeannine.s tein@latimes.com

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