Some Yoga Poses May be Dangerous for Glaucoma Patients

   |  Updated: January 08, 2016 15:28 IST

Some Yoga Poses May be Dangerous for Glaucoma Patients
Yoga is a form of exercise designed to work on your health and consciousness i.e your mind, body and soul. Eye yoga not only helps your vision but it also improves the functions of the brain. In some cases, it can help treat certain defects in the eye muscles like myopia and hypermetropia. But a new study claims that not all yoga poses may be benefit your eyes.

For people suffering from glaucoma, certain yoga positions like head-down postures and other exercises like push-ups and lifting heavy weights may be dangerous, a team of US researchers has warned. According to researchers from New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai (NYEE), glaucoma patients may experience increased eye pressure as the result of performing several different head-down positions while practicing yoga.
They took four common inverted yoga positions into consideration to prove their point. These were facing dog, standing forward bend, plow and legs up the wall. "While we encourage our patients to live active and healthy lifestyles, certain types of activities, including push-ups and lifting heavy weights, should be avoided by glaucoma patients," said Robert Ritch, senior study author and Director, Glaucoma Research, NYEE.

In patients suffering with glaucoma, Elevated Intraocular Pressure (IOP) is the most common known risk factor. When the fluid pressure rises inside the eye, it can damage the optic nerve. Some yoga poses can lead to increase in fluid pressure and therefore, should be avoided.

Previous studies and case reports had tested only the headstand position which showed a marked two-fold rise in IOP. In this new study, researchers asked healthy participants with no eye-related disease and glaucoma patients to perform four inverted yoga positions. Both normal and glaucoma study participants showed a rise in IOP in all four yoga positions, with the greatest increase in pressure occurring during the downward facing dog.

When the measurements were taken after the participants returned to a seated position and again after waiting for 10 minutes, the pressure in most cases remained slightly elevated from the baseline.

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"As we know that any elevated IOP is the most common known risk factor for development and progression of nerve damage, the rise in IOP after performing the yoga poses is of concern for glaucoma patients,” explained study first author Jessica Jasien at NYEE.

The research team emphasizes on the importance of educating glaucoma patients about all risks and benefits of physical exercise and their overall vision health. “The new study will help clinicians advise their patients on the potential risk associated with various yoga positions and other exercises that involve inverted poses,” the authors concluded in a paper published in the journal Plos One.

CommentsWith inputs from IANS

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Tags:  YogaGlaucoma