Obesity and eye diseases.
The prevalence of obesity has reached epidemic proportions in many countries. Although its impact on overall health is well documented, less is known about the ocular manifestations of obesity. Among different eye diseases, obesity has been linked with age-related cataract, glaucoma, age-related maculopathy, and diabetic retinopathy. Numerous population-based and prospective studies support an association between obesity and risk of age-related cataract. However, the nature and strength of these associations, particularly with the different cataract subtypes, remains to be determined. There is strong evidence that obesity is associated with elevated intraocular pressure, but there is no convincing data to support a more direct association between obesity and glaucomatous optic neuropathy. Studies to date have not found a consistent pattern of association between obesity and risk of age-related maculopathy or diabetic retinopathy. Thus, although obesity may be a risk factor for many ocular conditions, the present literature is inadequate to establish any convincing associations. Furthermore, whether weight loss reduces the risk of eye diseases remains unresolved. Because of the potential public health impact of obesity, there is a greater need to understand its ocular effects.
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