Certain yoga positions may impact eye pressure in glaucoma patients

Glaucoma patients may experience increased eye pressure as the result of performing several different head-down positions while practicing yoga, according to a new study published by researchers at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai (NYEE) in the journal PLOS ONE.
Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the United States and can dramatically affect the quality of life for patients with moderate to severe visual loss. Damage to the optic nerve occurs in glaucoma patients when fluid pressure inside the eye rises. Elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) is the most common known risk factor for glaucoma damage and, at the current time, the only modifiable one for which treatment has a proven effect on preventing or slowing the progression of the disease.
“While we encourage our patients to live active and healthy lifestyles, including physical exercise, certain types of activities, including pushups and lifting heavy weights, should be avoided by glaucoma patients due to the risk of increasing IOP and possibly damaging the optic nerve,” said Robert Ritch, MD, senior study author and the Shelley and Steven Einhorn Distinguished Chair and Director, Glaucoma Research, NYEE. “This new study will help clinicians advise their patients on the potential risk associated with various yoga positions and other exercises that involve inverted poses.”
In previous research, studies and case reports had tested only the headstand position, which showed a marked two-fold rise in IOP. In the new study, researchers had healthy participants with no eye-related disease and glaucoma patients perform a series of inverted yoga positions, including downward facing dog, standing forward bend, plow, and legs up the wall. They captured the IOP in each group at baseline seated, immediately assuming the pose, two minutes while holding the pose, right after they performed each pose in the seated position, and then again 10 minutes after resting in the seated position……..
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Source: Medical Xpress

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