Practicing yoga can keep you fit and flexible. But if you’re one of more than three million Americans with glaucoma, certain poses could put your vision at risk. In a new study of older yoga practitioners (average age 62), including some with glaucoma, four yoga moves significantly increased pressure inside the eye, known as intraocular pressure. The moves are…

  • Downward-Facing Dog
  • Standard Forward Bend
  • Plow Pose
  • Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose

It’s normal for eye pressure to increase in these positions even if you don’t have glaucoma, and pressure did quickly return to baseline for both groups after they completed the moves. So further research is needed to determine whether this temporary spike increases risk for progression of glaucoma. While the jury’s out, however, if you have glaucoma, which is more common over age 65, you may want to avoid head-down yoga positions.

Fortunately, you can find many other energizing and healing poses in the practice of yoga. If you have a teacher, ask him or her to guide you in developing a routine that doesn’t put extra pressure on your eyes.