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Physical Activity Is Associated With Macular Thickness: A Multi-Cohort Observational Study


PURPOSE: To assess the association between physical activity and spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT)-measured rates of macular thinning in an adult population with primary open-angle glaucoma. METHODS: The correlation between accelerometer-measured physical activity and rates of macular ganglion cell-inner plexiform layer (GCIPL) thinning was measured in 735 eyes from 388 participants of the Progression Risk of Glaucoma: RElevant SNPs with Significant Association (PROGRESSA) study. The association between accelerometer-measured physical activity and cross-sectional SD-OCT macular thickness was then assessed in 8862 eyes from 6152 participants available for analysis in the UK Biobank who had SD-OCT, ophthalmic, comorbidity, and demographic data. RESULTS: Greater physical activity was associated with slower rates of macular GCIPL thinning in the PROGRESSA study (beta = 0.07 microm/y/SD; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.03-0.13; P = 0.003) after adjustment for ophthalmic, demographic and systemic predictors of macular thinning. This association persisted in subanalyses of participants characterized as glaucoma suspects (beta = 0.09 microm/y/SD; 95% CI, 0.03-0.15; P = 0.005). Participants in the upper tertile (greater than 10,524 steps/d) exhibited a 0.22-microm/y slower rate of macular GCIPL thinning than participants in the lower tertile (fewer than 6925 steps/d): -0.40 +/- 0.46 microm/y versus -0.62 +/- 0.55 microm/y (P = 0.003). Both time spent doing moderate/vigorous activity and mean daily active calories were positively correlated with rate of macular GCIPL thinning (moderate/vigorous activity: beta = 0.06 microm/y/SD; 95% CI, 0.01-0.105; P = 0.018; active calories: beta = 0.06 microm/y/SD; 95% CI, 0.006-0.114; P = 0.032). Analysis among 8862 eyes from the UK Biobank revealed a positive association between physical activity and cross-sectional total macular thickness (beta = 0.8 microm/SD; 95% CI, 0.47-1.14; P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: These results highlight the potential neuroprotective benefits of exercise on the human retina.

Type Journal
ISBN 1552-5783 (Electronic) 0146-0404 (Print) 0146-0404 (Linking)
Authors Berry, E. C.; Marshall, H. N.; Mullany, S.; Torres, S. D.; Schmidt, J.; Thomson, D.; Knight, L. S. W.; Hollitt, G. L.; Qassim, A.; Ridge, B.; Schulz, A.; Hassall, M. M.; Nguyen, T. T.; Lake, S.; Mills, R. A.; Agar, A.; Galanopoulos, A.; Landers, J.; Healey, P. R.; Graham, S. L.; Hewitt, A. W.; MacGregor, S.; Casson, R. J.; Siggs, O. M.; Craig, J. E.
Publisher Name Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci
Published Date 2023-03-01
Published Volume 64
Published Issue 3
Published Pages 11
Status Published in-print
DOI 10.1167/iovs.64.3.11
URL link to publisher's version