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Aerobic exercise reduces intraocular pressure and expands Schlemm's canal dimensions in healthy and primary open-angle glaucoma eyes

1 State Key Laboratory of Ophthalmology, Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China
2 Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
3 C-MER (Shenzhen) Dennis Lam Eye Hospital, Shenzhen, China
4 Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong; C-MER (Shenzhen) Dennis Lam Eye Hospital, Shenzhen; C-MER Dennis Lam & Partners Eye Center, C-MER International Eye Care Group, Hong Kong; International Eye Research Institute of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (Shenzhen), Shenzhen; Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China

Correspondence Address:
Dennis S C Lam,
Suite 1515, Central Building, 1-3 Pedder Street, Central, Hong Kong
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijo.IJO_2858_20

Purpose: Aerobic exercise (AE) has been reported to decrease intraocular pressure (IOP) in healthy subjects and there are concomitant morphological changes in the anterior segment of the eye including the Schlemm's canal (SC). However, its effects on IOP and SC morphology in glaucoma patients had not been studied before. We aim to investigate the effect of AE on the IOP and SC dimension in both healthy and primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) eyes. Methods: The area and diameter of SC and IOP were measured in 35 primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) patients (59 eyes) and 36 healthy subjects (72 eyes) before and after performing moderate intensity of AE by running on a treadmill for 30 min. SC was imaged by swept-source optical coherence tomography (SS-OCT) for evaluation. Results: In comparison with baseline values, mean IOP decreased significantly following AE in both POAG and healthy eyes (both P < 0.001), in which POAG eyes showed a greater degree of reduction compared to healthy eyes (P = 0.002). In comparison with baseline values, in both POAG and healthy eyes, the average cross-sectional area (POAG: 80.48 +/- 59.54 vs. 99.20 +/- 54.87 pixels; healthy: 151.84 +/- 52.76 vs. 198.23 +/- 53.70 pixels; both P < 0.001) and diameter (POAG: 3.73 +/- 1.69 vs. 4.33 +/- 1.74 pixels; healthy: 5.61 +/- 1.02 vs. 6.47 +/- 1.20 pixels; both P < 0.001) of SC significantly increased after AE. In POAG, both treated and untreated with IOP-lowering medications, a significant reduction in mean IOP and increase in SC dimensions following AE were observed (all P < 0.05), and there were no significant differences of such measurements between the two subgroups (all P > 0.05). Conclusion: AE-induced reduction in IOP and an increase in SC dimensions in POAG eyes as in healthy eyes. Further studies to evaluate the long-term effect of AE on IOP control and SC morphology in POAG seem warranted.

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