Yoga Head Stands and Trumpets may Put Eyes at Risk

by Hannah Punitha on Oct 29 2008 6:57 PM

An Australian study has revealed that yoga head stands, swimming, or playing a musical instrument may put the eyes at risk.

The researchers from University of New South Wales School of Optometry and Vision Science have found that swimming, gym workout or playing a musical instrument can exacerbate eye diseases like glaucoma and short-sightedness.

"Yoga head stands, weightlifting, sleeping face down, playing instruments like the trumpet and swimming laps are some of the many ways of causing eye pressure spikes," quoted Professor Charles McMonnies, from the University of New South Wales School of Optometry and Vision Science, as saying.

"Pressure spikes are fine if you have healthy eyes. But all the people out there with these conditions, and so many others at risk of them, can be negatively affected, and many don't know it," he added.

During the study, researchers analysed the effects of eye rubbing and compared the pressure effects with other activities.

McMonnies found that eye rubbing caused the biggest spike, raising pressure to ten times normal levels, but may be only an occasional harmless event.

The literature review found that the risk might be higher for activities carried out regularly and for long periods, like wearing goggles while swimming lengths.

Moreover, people who play a high wind-resistance instrument like a trumpet, oboe, French horn or bassoon, especially on high-pitched notes, can lead to more than two-fold eye pressure.

McMonnies also warned that weight-lifting from a bench, sit ups on a slant board or upside down poses in yoga also gives rise to eye pressure.

Even sleeping face down was another major contributor that most people were unaware of.

"Avoiding sleeping with the eyes in contact with a pillow or sleep mask may help to slow the progression of pressure-sensitive eye diseases," said McMonnies.

The paper has been published in the journal Optometry and Vision Science.