Obesity epidemic and eye health

"Are we all just eating tones of unhealthy food in front of the television every evening?

 Worldwide Obesity levels are higher than ever before but are we really aware of the catastrophic effects that this disease can have on our health? Are we even aware of what it can cause to our most important sense? Our vision?


According to the World Health Organization being overweight or 'obese' is termed as the abnormal or extreme buildup of body fat which can negatively affect a person’s health. Obese individuals are those with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of more than 30kg/m^2. The BMI can be calculated using the following easy formula:

BMI=Weight (kilograms)/Height (meters)^2

1) Diabetic Retinopathy:

Along with obesity there is a considerable increased risk of Diabetes mellitus type II which can have devastating effects on the eye. It is reported that 90% of all diabetics between the ages of 16-54 are overweight or obese and unfortunately 80% of patients with diabetes for 15 years or more will be affected by some form of diabetic retinopathy which can be linked to blindness. However diabetic patients that control their blood sugar levels adequately are far less likely to develop diabetic retinopathy along with kidney and heart problems.

It is interesting to note that according to the Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB), an individual with a body mass index (BMI) of over 35 is up to 80 times more likely to develop diabetes than someone with a BMI of less than 22.

2) Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

Obesity may increase the risk of developing dry AMD and it has also been proven to increase the speed of progression of it. AMD is likely to influence the ability to carry out normal daily activities of an individual such as driving and reading.

3) Cataracts

Overweight people can have double the risk of developing cataracts compared to people who are not overweight. Cataracts in developed countries can be easily treated and therefore not lead to blindness.

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