Skip to main content

Jackson’s most Complimented Eyewear | 800 S Brown St., Jackson MI 49203

Jackson’s Most Complimented Eyewear | 800 S Brown St., Jackson MI 49203

Call Now! (517) 435-0411
Schedule an Appointment
clouds%20in%20the%20sky%20slide
Home »

macular degeneration

Does Obesity Impact Eye Health?

Nation-wide awareness about the vast dangers of obesity is at an all-time high, with TV shows like “The Biggest Loser” and health initiatives such as Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign shining a spotlight on the importance of fitness and good nutrition. However, despite the public’s knowledge of obesity’s effects on hypertension, stroke, and diabetes, many are not aware of how it damages eye health and vision.

Increasing evidence shows that people who are clinically obese have an elevated risk of developing serious eye diseases. It is widely known that expanding waistlines place people at a higher risk of getting diabetes, heart disease, and cancer — but researchers say the link between obesity and deteriorating vision is the “risk factor that no one talks about”. Professor Michael Belkin and Dr. Zohar Habot-Wilner, from the Goldschleger Eye Institute at the Sheba Medical Center, found a consistently strong correlation between obesity and the development of four major eye diseases that may cause blindness: 

  • Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Diabetic retinopathy

The researchers said that although the evidence was out there suggesting a link between obesity and these conditions, their study emphasizes the optometric risks of obesity which can help motivate people to shed those extra pounds.

How Obesity Contributes to Eye Disease

A Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25 is considered overweight and above 30 is regarded as obese. A high BMI is tied to several chronic systemic health conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and stroke, among others. Recent research indicates that a handful of ocular diseases can now be added to that list. 

Serious eye conditions such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration are more common in individuals with obesity, as well as floppy eyelid syndrome, retinal vein occlusions, thyroid-related eye diseases, and stroke-related vision loss. 

The connection between obesity and these eye diseases is likely due to the increased risk of peripheral artery disease. This occurs when the tiny blood vessels bringing oxygen to parts of your body like the feet, kidneys, and eyes become compromised.

Your eyes are particularly prone to damage from obesity because the blood vessels in the eyes (called arterioles) are easily blocked, since they’re extremely thin and small — as thin as ½ the width of a human hair! 

Most people are not aware that obesity may increase the rate of developing cataracts, too. Cataracts result when the focusing lens in the eye becomes cloudy and requires surgery to be replaced. In addition to age, cataract development is associated with obesity, poor nutrition, gout, diabetes and high blood sugar levels, though the exact cause isn’t clear.

A Healthy Lifestyle Can Reduce Your Risk of Ocular Disease

Knowing about the risk of vision loss may give those with a high BMI the extra motivational boost they need to lose weight. The good news is that a few lifestyle changes can reduce the associated risks.

An active lifestyle and a balanced, nutritious diet lower obesity and improve overall physical and eye health. Give your body a boost by incorporating important nutrients, such as vitamins C and E, zeaxanthin, omega 3, zinc, and lutein, many of which are found in green leafy and dark orange vegetables, as they have been shown to reduce the onset, progression, and severity of certain eye diseases. 

We Can Help Keep Your Eyes Healthy in Jackson

While a healthy diet and regular exercise greatly increase your chances of living a disease-free long life, they alone are not enough to ensure long term healthy eyesight. Regular eye exams with Dr. Buseth can help prevent or detect the onset of ocular disease, and maintain vision that is clear and comfortable.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your vision or eye health, don’t hesitate to call Eye Services of Jackson — we’re here for you. 

How Smoking Impacts Vision

Smoking harms nearly every system in your body — including your eyes. 

Though we are all aware of the health effects associated with smoking, such as lung cancer, heart disease, and bad teeth, few know about the negative impact it can have on our vision. 

Smoking and Eye Disease 

Smoking, especially 20 cigarettes or more daily over a long period of time, can adversely impact your vision. Cigarette smoke is made up of compounds that can damage health and have been shown to cause cerebral lesions which affect the area of the brain that processes vision.

More specifically, tobacco addiction increases the risk of developing vision-robbing diseases such as macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy. Moreover, smoke is an irritant that can cause or exacerbate dry eye syndrome. Below we’ll delve a little further into each of these conditions. 

Age-Related Macular Degeneration 

Smokers run a high risk of developing AMD, a condition that severely impairs central vision, making it difficult or impossible to read, drive, recognize faces and colors, and leads to permanent vision loss in those aged 65 or older. Fortunately, the risk can be dramatically diminished by putting an end to tobacco smoking — even if later in life. 

Cataracts

Heavy smokers double their risk of developing cataracts, the leading cause of blindness. Cataracts are characterized by clouded, blurred or double vision, photophobia, and reduced night vision. However, cataract surgery is common and replaces the clouded lens with an artificial intraocular lens. 

Uveitis

Uveitis, the inflammation of the eye’s central layer, is an ocular disease that can lead to blindness. This condition damages important structures of the eye, notably the iris and retina, and can lead to cataracts, glaucoma and retinal detachment. Smokers have a 2.2 times higher risk of developing uveitis than non-smokers. 

Diabetic Retinopathy

Smoking raises one’s risk of developing diabetes by up to 40 percent thereby increasing the risk of retinopathy as well. Diabetes damages the blood vessels in the retina, causing them to leak blood into the eye, which — in severe cases — can deprive the retina of oxygen and result in blindness.

Dry Eyes

Dry eye syndrome is a common eye condition characterized by insufficient tears to keep your eye lubricated, or the tears are not composed of the correct balance of water, lipids, and mucous to maintain proper lubrication. Common symptoms include red, itchy, and gritty eyes.

Heavy smokers, and those exposed to secondhand smoke, not only double their risk of developing dry eye but also exacerbate an existing condition, especially among the contact lens wearers.

Secondhand Smoke and Eye Disease 

Secondhand smoke— which includes the smoke that emanates from the end of a cigarette as well as the smoke exhaled— is nearly as harmful to health and vision. Second-hand smoke places others’ eyesight in danger, particularly in young children and infants. Furthermore, studies indicate that women who smoke during pregnancy put the newborn baby at risk of being born with eye disease or visual impairment that could affect his or her ability to learn.

Stop Smoking to Save Your Vision

The good news is that giving up smoking can have an immediate effect on your health — and it’s never too late to quit! Once the habit is broken, your body will begin to repair itself to prevent vision loss. It can be challenging to quit, as it requires dedication, support, and advanced planning. Dr. Buseth and the rest of the staff at Eye Services of Jackson in Jackson care about your health and will be happy to provide any assistance or resources to help you quit smoking and improve your eye health. Keep in mind that if you smoke, quitting smoking is the most important step you can take to protect your health and vision.

Cataracts, What are Common Types, Causes, Symptoms and Treatments, Dr. Buseth – Eye Services of Jackson, Jackson, cataracts,contact lenses,eye care MI

When looking at an object, light is received through the pupil. It is then focused onto the the back of the eye, where there is a collection of light sensitive cells called the retina. A cataract occurs when the eye’s normally clear lens becomes fogged up, making it hard or even impossible for light to travel properly through the lens and be clearly focused on the retina.

Among other symptoms associated with cataracts, you may experience painless, blurry vision, or faded or yellowed colors.

Cataracts are often considered a common part of aging. The lens, which is made of mostly water and protein, grows excess layers on its surface as the years go by. When these layers harden, protein in the lens may form clumps and become cloudy, forming a cataract.

Dr. Buseth, of Eye Services of Jackson, adds,“Increased difficulty seeing at night or in dim lighting is another easily overlooked symptom. You should consult your eye care professional for an appointment if you have any of these symptoms and, if diagnosed, be sure to have regular check-ups thereafter.”, Dr. Buseth, Jackson eye doctor.

Appointments OJ checkmark

Treatment of a cataract varies. In cases in which clouding is minimal, vision is hardly affected and a slight change in eyeglasses prescription may be enough. Alternatively, if all or a large part of the lens is clouded, surgery is required to restore sight. Cataract surgery involves the removal of the cloudy natural lens and replacement of the natural lens with an artificial lens made of plastic, silicone or acrylic. The surgery is extremely low risk and is normally done as an outpatient procedure without overnight stay.

Dr. Buseth advises, “Proper pre- and post-op care are very important. Proper co-management means your optometrist and eye surgeon are on the same page when it comes to your treatment before, during and and after surgery.”

Although cataracts are usually considered an eye condition of old age, previous eye disease or eye surgery, chronic disease, diabetes, and eye injuries can bring on cataracts much earlier.

A thorough exam should be conducted by your primary eye doctor to diagnose and decide on treatment of your cataract. After this your doctor should be able to advise about the surgery and refer you to a surgeon, who will answer any questions you have about the surgery. Afterwards, follow ups should take place with both your surgeon and your optometrist to assess your recovery.

Please don’t forget to make an appointment to see our Eye Care Specialist

Follow Eye Services of Jackson, Jackson eye exam, Jackson eye dr

We are open for your eye care needs! Click here to learn more. Need to order contacts? Click here.