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I have highly myopic eyes and underwent LASIK surgery a few years ago. I read somewhere that this condition carries an increased risk of retinal detachment resulting from trauma to the head. I know boxing and kickboxing are discouraged, but what about intense cardio workouts, weight training, and kickboxing (with the heavy bag serving as my opponent)? Should these activities be avoided?
A very good question. It is true that head and/or eye trauma can result in a retinal detachment, particularly in a highly myopic (nearsighted) individual. High myopes have longer eyes, thus the structures inside the eye, such as the retina, are stretched tighter and may even have thin peripheral areas prone to tears or holes that can progress to a retinal detachment.
The incidence of retinal detachment during one's lifetime for an otherwise normal eye is approximately 1 in 20,000. The risk in a highly myopic (nearsighted) individual is elevated by approximately 10 times, but still remains well under 1 percent. Several studies have supported the finding that LASIK or PRK does not increase the incidence of retinal detachment.
Exercise is important and an integral part of a healthy lifestyle. The intense cardio work-outs and weight training that you mentioned are excellent forms of exercise. Exercises to be avoided for highly myopic individuals would be those involving direct head or eye trauma such as would be inevitable in boxing. Kickboxing using the bag (as you described) without direct head trauma would be an acceptable form of exercise for a highly myopic individual. In fact, almost any form of exercise could be considered safe from an ophthalmic perspective as long as proper eye protection is observed.
Answered by: Eduardo C. Alfonso, MD
Categories: General Eye Health
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