Contrary to belief that obesity triggers eyesight problems due to the link between diabetes and vision impairment, research published in journal Opthalmology suggests that obesity in women reduces the risk of developing glaucoma.
Glaucoma, a progressive eye disease which damages the optic nerve affects over 4 million people in the US alone; there is an almost 50/50 gender split in diagnosed cases and glaucoma can affect people of any age. Once diagnosed with glaucoma it is imperitive a patients receives treatment immediately to prevent permanent damage to the optic nerve which leads to blindness. Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide.
There are different types of glaucoma. In the study by Harvard Medical School, the tendancy to develop "normal pressure", or "normal tension" glaucoma was reduced by 6% in women who medically classed as overweight. The study found no such link in overweight males. Overweight males were at the same risk of developing glaucoma as healthy weight peers.
Although the exact reason for the link between an increased BMI and a lower glaucoma risk is unclear, researchers believe the increased levels of estrogen commonly found in overweight women could help keep the pressure stable in the eye effectively protecting the optic nerve.
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