Some ophthalmologists suspect that head-down yoga positions, such as the standing forward bend, are related to cases in the elderly of bleeding inside the eyes as a result of broken vessels, Sing Tao Daily reported Friday.
Dr. Lee Ka-Yau, who specializes in eye diseases, said his clinic has treated three patients with symptoms of macular hemorrhage over the past six months.
The common factors among them are that they are all over 60 years old and had held their heads down toward the ground when performing yoga.
In one case, a 67-year-old woman was diagnosed with polypoidal choroidal vasculopathy (PCV) that led to macular hemorrhage just a few days after she performed head-down yoga positions in December.
Saying it was like a stinging in the eye when the bleeding inside the eyeball happened, she said she only had 10 percent vision left before treatment helped it return to 70 percent.
Lee said such yoga positions could cause an increase in intraocular pressure that might later result in broken blood vessels in the eyes.
He said yoga has been documented to be related to various kinds of eye diseases, including aggravated glaucoma.
Lee said people who should avoid head-down yoga positions include those who are 50 or older and those who have suffered from high blood pressure or macular degeneration.
Dr. Chow Pak-chin, president of the College of Ophthalmologists of Hong Kong, was quoted by Apple Daily as saying that a PCV patient should prevent the eye pressure from surging, or broken vessels could lead to blindness.
Calling head-down yoga positions highly risky, Chow urged yoga lovers to consult an ophthalmologist before doing them or refrain from staying in such positions for longer than a few seconds.
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