Can Obesity Be a Factor in Poor Vision Health?

Can Obesity Be a Factor in Poor Vision Health?

In recent years, obesity has been a huge problem for many developed nations. America’s obesity rate has grown to nearly 40 percent in the last few years. As the years go by, obesity rates seem to keep climbing. At the same time, the amount of obesity-related diseases, like heart disease, also increases. While it is clear there are obesity issues in many parts of the world, did you know that being obese can also negatively affect your vision?

Can Obesity Really Affect Ocular Health?

Obesity affects all types of people including children and the elderly. Excess weight is a widespread problem – over 1.9 billion adults in the world are considered obese. It would be logical to assume most of the negative health effects would be known by now. However, while we know clearly how obesity affects other bodily systems, not much is known about how this condition affects the eyes.

Growing scientific proof is showing that obesity is linked to eye diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and age-related macular degeneration. 1, 2, 3

How Can Obesity Damage Eyes?

Can Obesity Be a Factor in Poor Vision Health?By carrying extra weight, you can put excessive pressure on the blood vessels located in your eyes. Since these vessels are so delicate, they can be damaged very easily, causing poor vision. The higher your BMI (body mass index) is, the more likely you are to develop some of the eye diseases associated with obesity.

Cataracts, in particular, are related to your nutrition and your environment. Since those who are obese do not get good nutrition, their eyes suffer. There are several vitamins that are really important to ocular health, such as vitamin A and omega-3s. Those who do not stay at a healthy weight are probably lacking these nutrients, so their risk of eye problems is even higher.

Will Obesity Lead to Blindness?

The link between obesity and blindness needs to be more thoroughly examined. No one can say for sure that obese people are more likely to go blind. However, in a 2019 study, researchers noticed a clear link between the level of obesity and the level of eye disease in patients. The eye diseases examined were those that often lead to blindness. So, one can conclude that it is likely obesity leads to blindness – or extremely poor vision – in many individuals.

Another risk to the vision of those who are obese is that eye diseases seem to progress more quickly in those who are overweight. Since being obese speeds up the process of losing one’s eyesight, this is a powerful motivator for losing weight.

In the past 10 years, more studies have been published on the connection between obesity and eye diseases. However, the public still tends to associate other common diseases with obesity, like heart attacks, rather than eye diseases. It is important to continue to study the relationship between declining vision and weight gain and to publish the results. The public needs to be made more aware of the vision risks associated with obesity.

What Can I Do to Protect My Eyes?

If you are obese, there is a higher level of concern when it comes to health problems such as heart disease. But you should also be aware of the potential effects your condition can have on your eyes. Taking steps to get healthy and lose weight will help support your eye health. Plus you will be less likely to suffer from eye diseases that are related to obesity. This is probably the best solution for you, as it will help prevent both eye and cardiovascular diseases.

The first step to losing weight is being more active. Aerobic exercise is incredibly effective and beneficial for those who want to lose weight. Consider joining a gym and trying different fitness classes. Once you find one you truly enjoy, it won’t be a challenge to get yourself to go. Or, try speed walking or running around your neighborhood. Do 30 minutes of physical activity every day to get your heart rate up. As you lose weight, your bones and joints will have less pressure. You’ll likely notice a decrease in body aches and pain. And, your eyes’ vessels will become stronger and more durable.

However, protecting your eyes is not as simple as exercising. You need to get healthy, which means eating a good diet of adequate nutrients. You should especially focus on nutrients that are beneficial to eyesight.

Vitamins, Obesity, and Vision

There are 17 key nutrients the eyes need to function optimally. Ideally, you would get these nutrients from your food. For example, you can eat fish for omega-3s and carrots for vitamin A. You can get selenium from red meat, vitamin C from citrus fruits, and antioxidants from leafy greens. It’s best to avoid fast food and processed foods. These items often contain artificial ingredients and chemicals that are harmful to the body. Not to mention most of their nutritional value has been removed during processing.

Here are some easy swaps you can make for an eye-healthy diet:

  • Drink water with cucumber slices instead of soda
  • Eat grilled chicken on pita bread with coleslaw and mayonnaise with a side of sweet potato fries instead of a burger and fries combo
  • Eat fruit and dates instead of candy and chocolate

If you find meal planning and prepping inconvenient for your busy lifestyle, you’re not alone. That’s why many people opt to take supplements for vitamins. Of course, it’s best to get all your nutrients from your diet. But, that’s not always possible for everyone.

Our Ocu-Plus Formula contains all 17 of the essential eye health nutrients you need. You can get your entire days’ worth of eye vitamins with one capsule. Read our list of the 17 vitamins, minerals, and herbal supplements we recommend for good vision. Taking these extra supplements can give you an added boost to the health of your eyes.

Alone, supplements can’t make you lose weight. But by getting active, eating right, and taking the right supplements, you can prevent the poor vision brought on by obesity.

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Join or Start the Discussion

  1. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen CFJones says:

    I was 256 lbs. at 5’6″ in 2011. I came down to 236 lbs.; but my eye site was getting very poor. I once had 20/18 vision in one eye and 20/19 in the other.

    I made an effort to loose weight by changing my life style. I only eat when I am hunger and never over eat. If I am out I always get a doggie bag. I have lost 22 lbs. over the last and started getting bad room spins and headaches. I noticed that with my glasses off I could see thing clearer that with them on; so now I use them less and less and I not getting the spins and headaches. Not sure about the science but I can tell you that if you sweat easy with just walking, snore badly, breath loudly, and struggle when you tie your shoes, you may need to think about loosing some weight.

    If you feel good and can work it as you are, Please by all means you do you.

    Everyone just be happy.

  2. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen Lindsay says:

    I ‘m pretty sure when Tyler was talking about being overweight he was referring to, high percentage body fat, excess cholesterol etc.

    I know for a fact diabetes causes vision problems, and diabetes particularly type 2 is caused from bad diet and goes hand in hand with obesity!

    If you think about it, a body fuelled by a healthy diet, with regular exercise is going to freely pump vitamin rich oxygenated blood around your body and your eyes!

  3. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen Jess says:

    Who decides what “extra weight” is?
    Bodies come in all shapes and sizes, and what’s a healthy size for one person might be bigger or smaller than what’s healthiest for some one else.
    Body size isn’t a reliable indicator of healthiness (I’ve known thin people who ate anything and stayed that size, and fat people who exercised and paid attention to what they ate, and stayed that size as well), and the assumption in this article that
    “Those who do not stay at a healthy weight are probably lacking these nutrients [Vitamin A and Omega-3s] anyway” is pure conjecture and I wonder why it seemed appropriate to include it in an article that is ostensibly trying to come across as reliable.

    You say yourself that “there is not a lot of evidence to support the theory” and this article mostly says “there may be a link,” but correlation does not equal causation. Even if obese individuals ARE found to be more likely to have eye problems, that doesn’t mean obesity caused those problems, especially since there could be a number of other factors statistically related to body size (like class status, or size bias in the medical community) that also affect eye health.
    It may be in vogue to blame society’s ills on obesity, but that doesn’t make it right or true, and I think it’s unfair and misleading to add more stigma to how our society approaches body size.

  4. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen Aaron says:

    Personally I am a little overweight and this article really motivates me and makes me realize the dangers of being obese. Thank you for sharing.

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About the Author

Avatar for Tyler Sorensen

Tyler Sorensen is the President and CEO of Rebuild Your Vision. Formerly, Tyler studied Aeronautics (just like his brother) with the dream of becoming an airline pilot, however, after 9/11 his career path changed. After graduating top of his class with a Bachelor of Science in Informational Technologies and Administrative Management, he joined Rebuild Your Vision in 2002. With the guidance of many eye care professionals, including Behavioral Optometrists, Optometrists (O.D.), and Ophthalmologists (Eye M.D.), Tyler has spent nearly two decades studying the inner workings of the eye and conducting research.

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