Visual impairment and activity

In a paper we have recently published we show that in a large cohort epidemiological study, older people who self-rate their eyesight as ‘poor’ or ‘fair’ were twice as likely to be inactive (undertaking moderate physical activity less than once a week) than people rating their eyesight as ‘excellent’. The data presents an association rather than cause and effect. However, there is the potential for lack of physical activity to lead to an increased likelihood of health problems that can cause poor eyesight, such as diabetes. Equally, it can be more difficult for people with poor vision to exercise and be active. In another recent study we showed that ‘physical activity and / or sport’ was the third most challenging activity of daily living for people with the eye condition Retinitis Pigmentosa. Finding ways to help people with poor vision exercise safely therefore has the potential to be extremely valuable. For those with poor vision, I would highly recommend British Blind Sport, for information on a range of different sports. The RNIB website also has a good overview of available resources. One organisation particularly close to my heart is parkrun, who organise free weekly 5k runs around the country (and the world). They are undertaking a project to provide guide runners to people with visual impairment to enable them to take part. I would be more than happy to volunteer as a guide for anyone in the Cambridge area, bearing in mind that as I don’t run very fast I would be much more suited to guiding a beginner!


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