The link between obesity and eye health

Last Updated: November 28, 2022

Weight that is higher than what is considered healthy for a given individual’s height is described as overweight or obese. A Body Mass Index (BMI) over 25 is considered overweight and over 30 is usually considered obese. A high BMI can be linked to chronic systemic health conditions such as diabetes mellitus, stroke, cardiovascular disease, etc. In recent years, there is increasing evidence that a high BMI is associated with ocular health disease.  

Overweight and obese individuals are at an increased risk for diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, and glaucoma. Other conditions such as retinal vein occlusions, floppy eyelid syndrome, stroke causing visual loss, and thyroid-related eye diseases have also been linked to obesity.

An active lifestyle and good nutrition have been shown to help reduce a person’s BMI and improve both general and eye health. Maintain a healthy weight and keep moving. Make sure to get a supply of nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, omega 3, lutein, and zeaxanthin, as these have been shown to decrease the progression and severity of eye diseases such as macular degeneration. See your optometrist or a dietician for more information and to discuss your personal requirements.