There is only limited information available on the effects of physical exercise on the posterior pole. Retinal circulation is autoregulated similarly to the brain vasculature in order to provide constant flow and thus constant nutrition of the inner retinal structures while the choroid is mostly controlled by the sympathetic nervous system. The available data show that physical exercise may indeed have a positive effect on the retina and visual function. The assessment of retinal structure could serve as a marker in sports medicine, whereas physical activity could exert a positive protective effect against diseases such as diabetic retinopathy or age-related macular degeneration. According to our theory, similar to the term “trained heart” used in cardiology and sports medicine, the term “trained eye” could also be coined. This latter term would help to further emphasize the beneficial effects of physical exercise that works protectively not only for the cardiovascular but for the visual system as well, and thus could further help in the fight against avoidable blindness worldwide.
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York.