Yogic Breathing Exercises Can Reduce Intraocular Pressure
Yogic pranayama and diaphragmatic breathing (YPDB) contribute to a significant reduction of intraocular pressure (IOP) in glaucoma, according to findings published in the Journal of Glaucoma.

Researchers at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) conducted a prospective, randomized trial to show whether YPDB exercises, in combination with glaucoma medication, reduce IOP. The study included 90 participants (180 eyes) with primary open-angle glaucoma, a control group and a group that practiced YPDB exercises daily for 28 weeks. IOP was measured at baseline and after 1, 3, and 6 months. Both groups also used prescribed topical medications throughout the study.

The results of the study show that in the group that practiced YPDB, IOP was significantly reduced (right eye: 20.85 mm Hg ± 3.39 mm Hg to 14.90 mm Hg ± 2.86 mm Hg; left eye: 20.30 mm Hg ± 4.12 mm Hg to 14.25 mm Hg ± 3.85 mm Hg; P less than.001) compared with controls.

In the YPDB group, participants attended sessions for breathing exercises under the guidance of a trained yoga instructor during the first 4 weeks. For the next 24 weeks thereafter (follow-up period), they continued the YPDB at home daily. Practice sessions were 30 minutes, 7 days per week.

The study outlines the steps of diaphragmatic breathing, which involves the contraction and expansion of the diaphragm as well as deep inhalation and exhalation.

Researchers concluded by saying, yogic pranayama and diaphragmatic breathing exercises can reduce intraocular pressure in patients with primary open-angle glaucoma and can therefore be recommended as an adjuvant therapy.