The simple answer to the question above is yes, according to researchers who studied how race, lack of exercise and the amount of time spent watching TV might compromise healthy vision, Medical News Today reported.

For the study, researchers evaluated adults, ages 45 to 84, who participated in a population-based, cross-sectional multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis or plaque buildup in the arteries.

The study measured blood vessels in the participants’ eyes, which are called retinal vascular calibers. (Patients with wider retinal vascular calibers are at a greater risk of heart disease, diabetes, increased blood pressure levels and other conditions.)

Researchers found people who exerted themselves the least had a wider retinal vascular caliber compared with those who engaged in high amounts of physical activity—except for blacks.

In addition, people who watched the most TV had a wider retinal vascular caliber than people who did not, and the difference remained significant in whites only, researchers added.

“Results show an association of lack of physical activity and greater TV viewing time with wider retinal venules independent of other cardiovascular risk factors,” scientists concluded.

The study results will be presented in May at the 2010 Annual Meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO).

But the researchers also suggested further studies are needed to confirm these associations and ethnic differences.

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