Muscular Strength Is Associated with Higher Intraocular Pressure in Physically Active Males

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The positive association between intraocular pressure (IOP) and relative maximum force may have relevance for exercise recommendations when IOP is a concern.


The relationship between exercise and IOP has been approached in several studies. However, the influence of muscle function on IOP remains underexplored. This study aimed to determine the relationship between the maximal mechanical capabilities of muscles to generate force, velocity, and power with IOP.


Sixty-five physically active males participated in this cross-sectional study. Baseline IOP measures were obtained by rebound tonometry, and participants performed an incremental loading test in the ballistic bench press.


Baseline IOP showed a strong positive correlation with relative maximum force (r65 = 0.85, P < .001) relative maximum power (r65 = 0.85, P < .001), and relative one-repetition maximum (r65 = 0.91, P < .001). Also, a moderate positive association was obtained between baseline IOP and maximum force (r65 = 0.74, P < .001), maximum power (r65 = 0.72, P < .001), and maximum dynamic strength (r65 = 0.80, P < .001). No significant correlations between IOP and maximal velocity were obtained (all P > .05).


There is a positive association between greater upper-body power and strength with higher baseline IOP, which might have important implications in the management of ocular health and especially in individuals constantly involved in resistance training programs (e.g., military personnel, weightlifters). The possible protective effect of high fitness level on the acute IOP response to strength exercise needs to be addressed in future studies.

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