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Does Obesity Impact Eye Health?

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Nation-wide awareness about the vast dangers of obesity is at an all-time high, with TV shows like “The Biggest Loser” and health initiatives such as Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign shining a spotlight on the importance of fitness and good nutrition. However, despite the public’s knowledge of obesity’s effects on hypertension, stroke, and diabetes, many are not aware of how it damages eye health and vision.

Increasing evidence shows that people who are clinically obese have an elevated risk of developing serious eye diseases. It is widely known that expanding waistlines place people at a higher risk of getting diabetes, heart disease, and cancer — but researchers say the link between obesity and deteriorating vision is the "risk factor that no one talks about". Professor Michael Belkin and Dr. Zohar Habot-Wilner, from the Goldschleger Eye Institute at the Sheba Medical Center, found a consistently strong correlation between obesity and the development of four major eye diseases that may cause blindness: 

  • Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Diabetic retinopathy

The researchers said that although the evidence was out there suggesting a link between obesity and these conditions, their study emphasizes the optometric risks of obesity which can help motivate people to shed those extra pounds.

How Obesity Contributes to Eye Disease

A Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25 is considered overweight and above 30 is regarded as obese. A high BMI is tied to several chronic systemic health conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and stroke, among others. Recent research indicates that a handful of ocular diseases can now be added to that list. 

Serious eye conditions such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration are more common in individuals with obesity, as well as floppy eyelid syndrome, retinal vein occlusions, thyroid-related eye diseases, and stroke-related vision loss. 

The connection between obesity and these eye diseases is likely due to the increased risk of peripheral artery disease. This occurs when the tiny blood vessels bringing oxygen to parts of your body like the feet, kidneys, and eyes become compromised.

Your eyes are particularly prone to damage from obesity because the blood vessels in the eyes (called arterioles) are easily blocked, since they're extremely thin and small — as thin as ½ the width of a human hair! 

Most people are not aware that obesity may increase the rate of developing cataracts, too. Cataracts result when the focusing lens in the eye becomes cloudy and requires surgery to be replaced. In addition to age, cataract development is associated with obesity, poor nutrition, gout, diabetes and high blood sugar levels, though the exact cause isn’t clear.

A Healthy Lifestyle Can Reduce Your Risk of Ocular Disease

Knowing about the risk of vision loss may give those with a high BMI the extra motivational boost they need to lose weight. The good news is that a few lifestyle changes can reduce the associated risks.

An active lifestyle and a balanced, nutritious diet lower obesity and improve overall physical and eye health. Give your body a boost by incorporating important nutrients, such as vitamins C and E, zeaxanthin, omega 3, zinc, and lutein, many of which are found in green leafy and dark orange vegetables, as they have been shown to reduce the onset, progression, and severity of certain eye diseases. 

We Can Help Keep Your Eyes Healthy in Cedar Park

While a healthy diet and regular exercise greatly increase your chances of living a disease-free long life, they alone are not enough to ensure long term healthy eyesight. Regular eye exams with Dr. Jeffrey Yonker can help prevent or detect the onset of ocular disease, and maintain vision that is clear and comfortable.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your vision or eye health, don’t hesitate to call TSO Cedar Park — we’re here for you. 

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401 West Whitestone Boulevard, Bldg B200
Cedar Park, TX 78613

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401 West Whitestone Boulevard, Bldg B200
Cedar Park, TX 78613
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Our Reviews

Dr. Yonker is thorough and his staff is friendly and in top of everything. Very safe, keeping with CDC guidelines.
5 days ago
5
eye doctor's office
Super helpful and friendly staff. Doctor was informative and thorough. I will be back!
1 month ago
5
eye doctor's office
We have a toddler in glasses and TSO has been wonderful to work with! He has chewed them, popped lenses and broken frames over the years. They have repaired, replaced and problem solved with us. Love their customer service!
1 month ago
5
eye doctor's office
Dr. Yonker and his staff are great. His staff is very helpful and courteous. Dr. Yonker is professional and caring. He identified my glaucoma. The prescriptions for glasses and contacts were just right. Then when I had cataract surgery and only the right eye was completed, before COVID 19, shut down the surgery center, he worked with me to reach the best solution for the best vision until surgery on my right eye could be completed. And his caring approach for the follow-up after cataract surgery has been so very helpful. I highly recommend Dr. Yonker for your eye care.
2 months ago
5
eye doctor's office
Dr. Yonker was by far the best eye doctor we have seen. He was extremely thorough in providing multiple options to help hinder my daughters vision from getting worse and providing cost efficient options at that. The staff was also very attentive and helpful in answering all our questions. HIGHLY RECOMMEND! Me and my husband will be returning for ourselves, as well!
4 months ago
5
eye doctor's office
I have gone to see Dr. Yonker several times and he is very professional and Courteous. He is very Knowledgeable and keeps you informed as to what is doing on during your visit. I have never had an issue, and i have referred many of my friends to this office!
4 months ago
5
eye doctor's office
I went in for a eye exam and was not disappointed. The staff here are very friendly also so helpful. Dr Jeffery was extremely helpful and got to the bottom of my vision issues. I highly recommend people coming here.
5 months ago
5
eye doctor's office