Can Certain Activities Make Glaucoma Worse?

GlaucomaGlaucoma is an eye disease characterized by an increase in pressure inside the eye (a.k.a., intraocular pressure). Usually the best way to control intraocular pressure is with the use of medicated eyedrops, and sometimes laser or surgical procedures.

However, nowadays many people are interested in how their daily activities and lifestyle habits affect their health. Some have wondered whether there are certain activities that can make glaucoma worse.

There is not a lot of research to confirm the notion that certain activities elevate intraocular pressure. But many doctors believe that activities involving a “head-down” position or a lot of straining are more likely than others to affect the pressure inside the eye.

Inverted Yoga Positions

Inverted yoga positions, in which the head dips below the heart, are an example of something that may cause a change in intraocular pressure. One such position is downward-facing dog, which is a highly recognized pose. Although downward-facing dog is less strenuous than other inversions, like a headstand, it is still considered an inversion. Keeping a head-down position for more than a few minutes may cause an elevation of intraocular pressure and put pressure on the optic nerve.

Inversion Tables

Along the same lines, using an inversion table, either for back pain or another problem, is not recommended for people with glaucoma. Putting the head in an upside-down position may lead to a spike in intraocular pressure.

Any Activity that Places Head Lower than Heart

Other activities that place your head lower than your heart, such as doing handstands or push-up handstands (like in a CrossFit class), are not recommended as they can increase eye pressure.

Heavy Weightlifting

Weightlifting is excellent for muscle strength and maintaining bone density, but lifting heavy weights, especially if it involves holding your breath, can raise eye pressure. It’s better to lift lower weights and perform more repetitions than strain to lift heavier weights.

Work with Your Personal Medical Team

This information is meant for general educational purposes only. Please check with your medical team before starting or changing your exercise routine. Your doctor knows the details of your health and can make recommendations tailored to you and your lifestyle.

For more information about glaucoma or any of the information in this post, please call or email Island Eye Surgicenter today.


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Westbury, NY 11590

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