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How aerobic exercises can help vision

Exercise can help your body get stronger. And it may help your eyes get stronger, too.

Aerobic exercises such as walking on a treadmill can help "preserve the structure and function of nerve cells" in people with age-related macular degeneration, according to a new study from Emory University and the Atlanta Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center's Rehabilitation Research and Development Center for Visual and Neurocognitive Rehabilitation.

The study was conducted on laboratory rats, but researchers are confident the results will be similar in humans. "People who are at risk of macular degeneration or have early signs of the disease may be able to slow down the progression of visual impairment," lead researcher Machelle Pardue stated in a news release. She said her study was the first to show that exercise has "a direct effect on retinal health and vision." Age-related macular degeneration is a leading cause of vision loss in older adults.

The study was published in the Feb. 12 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

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