Tiring the legs also tires the eyes – the remedy is caffeine

coffee

A new study published in Nature Scientific Reports shows for the first time that our eyes may feel the strain of exercise.

A team of scientists from four countries led by Dr Nicholas Gant from the University of Auckland have discovered that slow down when we are fatigued.

"These results are important because our eyes must move quickly to capture new information," he says. "But there's hope for because this visual impairment can be prevented by consuming caffeine."

In the study, cyclists exercised in a laboratory at the University of Auckland for three hours, after which their brain's control of the visual system was tested using specialised -tracking cameras.

"It's remarkable that tiring the legs also slows the eyes," says Dr Gant. "This might well be the reason the tired cyclist never saw that bus coming!"

An imbalance in neurochemicals caused by appears to spread across the brain's control systems. But just a modest dose of caffeine can restore chemical balance, helping signals from the brain reach the eyes.

"The amount of caffeine we gave during exercise was the equivalent of two cups of coffee. We saw no effect with a decaffeinated placebo drink."

"Interestingly, the areas of the brain that process visual information are robust to fatigue. It's the pathways that control that seem to be our weakest link".

The team is currently investigating the effects that psychiatric drugs—used to treat patients with abnormal levels of these neurotransmitters—have on this phenomenon.


Explore further

Thalamus found to add contextual information to visual signals

More information: Charlotte J. W. Connell et al. Fatigue related impairments in oculomotor control are prevented by caffeine, Scientific Reports (2016). DOI: 10.1038/srep26614
Journal information: Scientific Reports

Citation: Tiring the legs also tires the eyes – the remedy is caffeine (2016, May 26) retrieved 6 May 2021 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2016-05-legs-eyes-remedy-caffeine.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
141 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments