Obesity has always been commonly linked with health disorders such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer, but now its negative effects on the eyes are being highlighted as well. It’s only natural that extra weight on your body will result in excessive pressure on your blood vessels, even those tiny ones located in your eyes. Since they are so delicate, any unnecessary pressure can easily damage them. Obese individuals are also at higher risk to develop eye conditions that can cause blindness including age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and cataracts.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
AMD can severely impede your eyesight because it damages the macula which consists of delicate tissue that is part of the retina and home to the light-sensitive cells of the eye. It is responsible for our central vision and essential to everyday skills like reading. People are quick to assume that once they’ll hit their 60’s, it’ll mean an inevitable head towards loss of visual acuity. Although this will not be the case for most, the chances of developing AMD, a leading cause of blindness, will increase immensely in older adults who are obese. Unfortunately a cure for AMD has yet to be found, but there are some treatments such as medications that prevent abnormal blood vessel growth, which can help delay its progression. Good nutrition also plays a positive role in reducing the risk of AMD. Chances are that if you are clinically overweight, you are not following healthy dietary habits. But a diet rich in antioxidants, vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids is essential to preventing the development of AMD.
Individuals who are obese have high blood viscosity which reduces the drainage of the fluid inside the eye, otherwise known as, aqueous humor. This unbalance leads to elevated pressure inside the eyes, damaging visual nerve fibers eventually leading to glaucoma. Keeping this in mind, when you provide your body with proper nutrition and exercise, you will not only reduce your overall body weight but also relieve your eyes’ blood vessels from excessive pressure.
Diabetic Retinopathy And Cataracts
Individuals who tend to be obese are usually not following an ideal diet and because of this their eyes don’t receive the required vitamins and nutrients. People who are living with diabetes not only have higher blood sugar but also have higher sugar concentrations in the other fluids of their bodies as well. This in turn negatively influences the aqueous humor in our eye causing damage to the retina at the back of the eye and the formation of a cataract. Cataracts, known to be one of the most common causes of blindness, are caused when proteins in the lens of the eye begin lumping together leading to a cloudy vision.
Preemption And Prevention
Getting regular eye checks is at the top of the list when it comes to the prevention of vision impairment. Younger adults are advised to visit an ophthalmologist every two years while those over 60 years should get an eye exam once a year. However, eye checks just cover preemptive measures, let’s also focus on preventive moves. Individuals who maintain an active lifestyle will be less prone to becoming obese. Start by walking around your neighborhood or take up another fun, physical activity so you can slowly build up your stamina, get your heart rate up, loosen your bones and joints and strengthen your eye vessels. Following a healthy diet is not only key to a good quality of life, but eating generous servings of green leafy vegetables containing antioxidants, will help battle stress which in turn will prevent lens tissue from damaging.