In addition to many other health benefits, vigorous exercise may potentially help with dry, itchy eyes by boosting tear production and quality, a new study suggests.
The study included 52 adults, whom investigators categorized as either "athletes" or "non-athletes." Participants in the athlete group exercised at least five times a week, while non-athletes exercised no more than once a week.
All the participants engaged in a treadmill-based exercise session. The researchers performed eye exams just before and five minutes after the sessions, measuring tear production and how long tear film on the eye remained stable before beginning to dry. While all participants experienced boosts in both tear amounts and quality after exercise, those in the athlete group showed greater benefits.
Healthy tear film not only keeps the eyes moist, but also protects them against irritants such as dust or dirt and dry spots that can lead to itching, stinging, or burning. The findings, published in the January 2022 issue of Experimental Eye Research, suggest that better physical fitness and longer periods of exercise might be important ways to enhance eye moisture.
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