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A breathtaking 68.8 percent of American adults are considered obese. That’s over two-thirds of our nation’s population over the age of 18. Furthermore, three out of every four men are obese. Because of its high rates, and its health risks, obesity is a major concern of health care providers in the United States.

The health risks associated with obesity include:

  • heart disease
  • high blood pressure
  • breathing problems
  • diabetes
  • flattened foot arches

One problem associated with obesity that the public attention often overlooks is its effect on your eyes.

HOW DOES OBESITY AFFECT MY VISION?

While your eyes themselves don’t gain weight, they do suffer from the other drawbacks of obesity, namely the effects of high blood pressure. Major blood vessels in your eye provide essential nourishment to the optic nerve, outer areas of the retina, and inner areas of the retina. These delicate blood vessels are susceptible to damage, resulting in poor vision. Obesity causes one’s body to put too much pressure on blood vessels, and for the heart to have to work harder to circulate blood.

The extra pressure from the weight and the overworked heart puts your eyes’ blood vessels at risk for bursting or being blocked, keeping vital nourishment from reaching the critical components of your eyes.

DOES THAT MEAN MY DIET AFFECTS MY VISION TOO?

Yes, a poor diet — often connected with obesity — contributes to to the development of poor vision. Besides increasing the weight of the body — leading to the aforementioned consequences of obesity — a poor diet may not introduce enough vitamins, such as Vitamin A and Omega-3s, which can increase your risk for developing cataracts.

WHAT OTHER EYE CONDITIONS ARE LINKED TO OBESITY?

While a lot of research is still left to be completed, many professionals are beginning to link glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy to obesity. Of course, these conditions don’t stem exclusively from obesity (macular degeneration is an age-related disease), but obesity may increase the rate at which these diseases accelerate.

If you are considered obese, and haven’t visited an optometrist recently, you should request an appointment. You may not notice any vision problems at the moment, but your blood vessels, retina, and iris may hide secrets of a developing condition that only a trained medical professional can observe.

Are you concerned that your vision is at risk because of obesity or another life-altering condition? Contact Silverstein Eye Centers today at (816) 358-3600 or request your appointment online. We can serve you at our convenient location in Independence/Kansas City.

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