Our society is obsessed with physical appearance. This is why people with obesity are looked down upon. However, this problem is more of a health concern than ‘just being fat’.
Being overweight invites so many health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. But, did you know people who are overweight are more likely to develop eye conditions and diseases such as diabetic retinopathy or glaucoma?
Obesity stats in the UK
It’s not a secret that obesity has become a big concern in the UK. As per a health survey in 2019 by the NHS, 28% of the adult population in the UK is obese while 36.2% are only overweight. Obese peple have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above.
The survey also found that men are more likely to become overweight or obese. Also, people between 45 to 74 years of age are at a higher risk of this problem.
9.9% of children aged 4 or 5 years in England are obese and a further 13.1% are overweight. People living in deprived areas are more likely to become obese.
The pandemic made the obesity epidemic even worse. Due to financial losses, people shifted to cheaper high-calorie foods. Also, with gyms, parks and recreational areas closed, people didn’t get to exercise which also contributed to their gaining weight.
There has been a significant reduction in physical activity in children during the lockdown. People spent more of their time in front of screens which is another reason behind deteriorated eyesight. Blue light emission from devices is not good for your eyes and leads to temporary vision problems if you don’t use screen protection glasses.
Obesity takes a toll on your well-being in multiple ways and tearing your ocular health is one of the ways. And if you people are unaware, let me tell you that the UK was found to be the most obese country in Western Europe in 2017.
64% of brits were found overweight out of which 28% were obese. The numbers were almost double what they used to be in 1990.
Here are our findings summed up in bullet points:
- 63% of UK adults are overweight or obese. That’s almosy 35 million people.
- The NHS exhausted £8,167,383 on Orlistat - a medicine that helps you lose weight.
- Over 4000 search queries on losing weight are made every day.
- Over 1 million people were hospitalised due to obesity-related health problems in 2019/20.
How are obesity and eye diseases linked?
Researchers at Goldschleger Eye Institute, an ophthalmology department in Israel found the link between obesity and the development of severe. eye conditions.
Body mass index (BMI) of 25-30 is overweight, whereas 30+ BMI is considered obese. Some common ocular conditions resulting from elevated BMI include wet macular degeneration, retinal vein occlusions, floppy eyelid syndrome, diabetic retinopathy and stroke-related vision loss.
While the cause is not yet confirmed, researchers believe that it must have something to do with peripheral artery disease which is present in obese people. When the tiny and delicate blood vessels become compromised, they experience trouble bringing oxygen and other nutrients to other areas of the eye.
Although cataracts are an age-related problem, obesity is one of the risk factors of this problem. People who are obese have poor nutrition and high blood sugar levels which contribute to the clouding of the eye lens.
Morbid obesity is linked with high inner eye pressure which results in glaucoma - the leading cause of sight loss or blindness. Morbid obesity refers to a BMI of 40 or more or 35 with other health conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
Have regular eye exams
No matter what weight you are, eye exams are important for everyone. But, those with obesity should have these exams every year to detect the onset of eye diseases as soon as possible. A comprehensive eye exam can detect symptoms of developing ocular conditions so you can work on them soon and seek immediate medical help.
You may call us to get a free eye test in the UK. Our team of optometrists will perform a comprehensive examination of your eyes and easily diagnose any issue in your vision that you might have. The process only takes 15 to 20 minutes and a prescription is also dispensed right away.
Even if you only have doubts or concerns about your eye health, you can visit our store and talk to our optometrist and clear your doubts.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle
Knowing that their eyesight is on the line, people with obesity might find some added motivation to lose a few pounds. Reducing your weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can bring down your risk of ocular diseases if you’re obese.
An active lifestyle coupled with a nutritious diet is the key to losing weight. Whether you’re hitting the gym or doing home workouts, make sure you give 1 hour of your day to exercise. Include green leafy vegetables in your diet as they are rich in vitamin C, E, lutein, zeaxanthin and zinc which are important to delay the onset of severe eye diseases.
A change is possible
With a healthy diet and regular exercise, you’ll decrease your risk of dangerous health conditions. While all of these things are important, one must not forget the significance of regular eye tests.
If you happen to have any concerns regarding your eyesight, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.