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Glaucomatous damage in patients performing yoga in the inverted position

Research Fellow: Cristiano Oliveira, M.D.

Some yoga philosophies advocate that individuals must assume different kinds of inverted positions for some time, everyday, in order to give brain a better blood supply. When in the inverted posture the intraocular pressure (IOP) rises immediately and remains elevated as long as the position is maintained, going back to normal when the upright position is reassumed. It is possible that this transitory spike of intraocular pressure practiced everyday and for many years, can lead to some sort of damage to the optic nerve similar to what happens with patients with glaucoma. The purpose of this study is to evaluate 50 consecutive volunteers without history of eye disease or surgery, who have been practicing yoga with inversions regularly for at least 5 years, looking for possible optical neuropathy recognized during eye exam and visual field testing.

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