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How Bulking Up May Damage Your Eyesight

Most forms of all-around fitness involve some kind of weightlifting. Whether you have an interest in lifting to bulk up or simply to tone your body, experts say that it’s a valuable part of exercising. Regardless of where your interests lie, we all lift weights for the same reason: to improve our body shape and overall health. It might surprise you to learn that lifting weights can also affect your body in a negative way. Studies have shown that individuals who lift weights are at a higher risk of glaucoma, an eye disease which can lead to permanent blindness.

When we lift weights, especially heavy ones, our bodies react to the strain in a number of ways. Some of the more obvious sensations include sore muscles, increase blood flow, and a tendency to want to hold our breath. What you may not know, is that lifting weights also temporarily increases pressure within our eyes. By doing so, we can damage our optic nerves leading to what doctors call “normal pressure glaucoma.” Interestingly enough, people who play certain wind instruments, like the bagpipes for example, also have a greater risk of getting normal pressure glaucoma for the exact same reason.

Just because weightlifters have a higher risk of glaucoma doesn’t mean they should stop weightlifting. Preventing glaucoma first and foremost means making regular appointments to see your ophthalmologist (a medical doctor who specializes in eye care and surgery). Your eye doctor will look inside your eyes and make sure you have a healthy optic nerve. In addition, you can actively prevent pressure build-up in your eyes by exhaling as you press or lift the weights and inhaling as you release.