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.
How Can Obesity Damage Eyes?
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.