Obesity is prominent worldwide. Statistics claim that 13% of the population is obese, and this number is expected to rise due to unhealthy diets and exercise. Being significantly overweight is known to cause massive health problems. It is linked to diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, and even stroke. However, does it play a part in the development of eye-related disorders? Many eye doctors have studied the two concepts and researched to identify a connection between the two. We will attempt to examine the relationship in this blog.
What is obesity?
Obesity is defined as an excessive fat accumulation that is a health risk. A person is deemed obese if their Body Mass Index (BMI)—a calculation that divides their weight by the square of their height—is above thirty.
What are eye-related disorders?
As their name suggests, these are issues that affect the entirety or parts of a person’s eye. Most people have problems in this region at one time or another. While some are minor and can be treated with ease, others can be more severe and require complicated procedures at an eye clinic. Given the importance of eyesight, such conditions can have a significant impact on a person’s life.
Is there a relation between the two?
One might expect a definite yes in this regard; however, the truth is that it is complicated. There are cases where eye conditions can occur due to obesity; however, the exact process can be challenging to investigate. In certain areas, it is pretty straightforward. Type 2 diabetes is known to cause a wide range of health issues, affecting the eye.
A person is at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, macular edema, glaucoma, and cataracts when they have type 2 diabetes. The amount of damage inflicted can be severe, and there is a great risk of blindness if a person does not seek treatment on time. As 90% of those who suffer from this disease are also overweight or obese, it can be assumed to some extent that there may be a link between obesity and eye disorders.
Obesity is also considered to increase the risk of cataract formation; however, the exact mechanism is unclear. Many epidemiological studies attempting to understand the relationship between the two have been carried out through the years; however, the results have not always been conclusive. While more findings support a correlation between diabetes and cataract development, the inconclusive findings in other studies have made it difficult to assert a link. The most substantial proof has been derived through prospective data from several large population-based studies. These demonstrate a positive association between cataracts and obesity.
In contrast, several studies have provided ample evidence that there is a positive association between intraocular pressure and obesity. In addition, intraocular pressure is a well-documented risk factor for glaucomatous optic neuropathy. However, this does not mean obesity causes glaucoma, but it does increase the risk of developing it.
Therefore, as mentioned before, it is difficult to claim that obesity does indeed lead to eye disorders. However, a healthy diet and exercise can help keep diseases at bay and supply essential nutrients to the eyes. So a person can protect their eyesight better if they can lose excess weight and reach a normal BMI. In some cases, the damage may not be reversible, but a combination of lifestyle changes and corrective lens and other treatments can preserve one’s sight from becoming worse. Thus, one should visit New Vision Eye Center and speak to a specialist as soon as they notice any issues with their eyes.