I have a myopia and my eye glasses are usually from -3 to -4 diopters. I jog every morning on an asphalt covering (see my question) and do kickboxing, and in the next year i plan to start lifting heavy weights. How dangerous is all that for my eyesight? A doctor once recommended to abstain from all traumatic sports because of danger of retinal detachment, however this would limit the quality of my life.

On Wikipedia's article about retinal detachment it is written:

Trauma-related cases of retinal detachment can occur in high-impact sports (e.g. boxing, karate, kickboxing, American football) or in high speed sports (e.g. automobile racing, sledding). Although some doctors recommend avoiding activities that increase pressure in the eye, including diving and skydiving, there is little evidence to support this recommendation, especially in the general population. Nevertheless, ophthalmologists generally advise patients with high degrees of myopia to try to avoid exposure to activities that have the potential for trauma, increase pressure on or within the eye itself, or include rapid acceleration and deceleration.

Intraocular pressure spikes occur during any activity accompanied by the Valsalva maneuver, including weightlifting. An epidemiological study suggests that heavy manual lifting at work may be associated with increased risk of rhegmatogenous retinal detachment.

So my questions are:

  • How dangerous is to do jogging on an asphalt with myopia?
  • How dangerous is to do martial arts with myopia?
  • How dangerous is to do weight training with myopia?
  • Can i be allowed to any of the above?
  • If so, how can i mitigate the trauma and the medical risks?
  • 1
    Really? I'm near-sighted, and I haven't had problems with any type of physical activity, even with constant martial arts practice for the last 5 years. I guess as long as you're not getting hit in the eye, you should be fine.
    – user241
    Jul 5, 2012 at 7:19
  • @sindikat How is your retina? I have slightly higher myopia -11 Sph -3 Cyl in both eyes. I have lattice degeneration (some holes) in my retina. I experience flashes of light frequently(while straining). My doc has asked me to stay away from contact sports. Weightlifting does cause flashes of light. Both answers currently suggest no relation but have a look at this.Any ophthalmologists here?
    – abel
    Jan 3, 2013 at 9:31

4 Answers 4


The doctor that recommended that, did he do that specifically because you are myopic? Or is there some other underlying pathology that makes you more susceptible?

I have poor eyesight as well (20/300 and 20/400 left and right respectively), and I am in the negative diopters, and I've been active in sports for 40 years, including 9 years of cross country in HS and college, 20 years of martial arts, triathlons, wrestling and weightlifting to support all of the above. I've never had any problems.

Simply being nearsighted shouldn't increase the risk for you more than anyone else. However, before I started jumping into all the activity, I would specifically ask your eye doc if there is something in YOUR eyes that makes you more susceptible and what to do if you are, especially if a doc did tell you that in your past.

I'll save the writing, I'd give you the same answer for your jogging on asphalt.


A doctor once recommended to abstain from all traumatic sports because of danger of retinal detachment, however this would limit the quality of my life.

Having a detached retina will affect the quality of your life more. It may be wise to have an eye exam and get clarification from your eye doctor as to whether or not you are at risk. If you are at risk, ask your eye doctor for recommendations and learn the signs and symptoms. Then if you do experience any symptoms you will know to get immediate care. With this knowledge you can make a more informed decision as to what activities you are willing to risk.

  • Risk Factors for Retinal Detachment

    Severe myopia is a risk factor for detached retina. Aging, trauma, certain diseases and family history are other risk factor. Sightwise.org refers to * -6.0 Diopter correction or greater.

    Nearsighted people are more susceptible because their eyes are longer than average from front to back, causing the retina to be thinner and more fragile.

  • Symptoms of Retinal Detachment:
    Knowing the signs of retinal detachment and treating it as a medical emergency can help to save your vision. If you experience any of the following, seek medical help immediately.

    1. 3 Fs - Sudden Flashes, Floaters, Field Loss of vision
    2. A slight feeling of heaviness in the eye
    3. A dense shadow or a veil obstructing your view

    You have already read Wikipedia's article about retinal detachment and the caution about high impact sports, rapid acceleration-deceleration, and heavy manual lifting. The real question is how dangerous is jogging, martial arts and heavy weight lifting for you and your condition, considering your eye health, your general health, age, family history and prior history. Your eye doctor is the best one to ask.


Weight lifting, no concern. Martial arts, if it's not full contact, no concern. If it is full contact, you might have to worry about it, but retinal detachment is a concern for anyone regardless of their eyesight. If you've already had a partial retinal detachment you should immediately cease all contact sports (weightlifting is fine, jogging might then be something you'd rather replace with cycling). If your ophthamolagist (preferably, although optometrist would be fine too) has told you your myopia is due to retinal detachment, then of course most martial arts are out of the question for you.

All that said, I've taken hits to the head hard enough to give me fish legs, and have also taken strikes directly to my eyeball, but never got a partial retinal detachment. It's a pretty unusual occurence.


Jogging, swimming, cycling are fine, that's what my doctor said to me. The problem is, if you have myopia, your retina is thinner and that's why it could detach.

  • 1
    -1. In normal myopia, the retina is not thinned. It is only in pathological myopia that the retina can become thinned.
    – JohnP
    Mar 27, 2013 at 14:38

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.