Study claims, surgical weight loss could reverse eye damage

Weight loss after obesity surgery could reverse eye damage in the retina, a study claims. Researchers studied people before and after weight loss surgery and found that some experienced improvements to their vision.

Researchers said early eye damage caused by obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes can be potentially reversed by weight loss surgery.

A research team from the University of Melbourne, Australia, and Leeds Beckett University in Leeds, UK, worked with colleagues in Finland, Singapore, Hong Kong and London to study weight loss and how it impacts the eyes. Changes to the vascular structure of the retina can reflect damage caused by obesity, hypertension, diabetes and a range of other chronic disease processes. Despite such diseases being commonplace in the population, the impact of weight loss resulting from bariatric surgery on the retinal microvasculature is not well known.

surgical weight loss could reverse eye damage

Bariatric surgery is an option for people with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or those who have type 2 diabetes or heart disease. The two types of bariatric surgery can either restrict the size of the stomach or physically removing parts of the digestive tract.

Researchers analyzed 22 obese patients before and after they had bariatric surgery. To compare results, the researchers also found 15 controls who were of similar ages and at a healthy BMI. Detailed eye examinations were performed at the start of the study and six months after the participants had their surgeries to look for signs of obesity-related impairments in the retina. These include narrowing of the arterioles which carry blood from the arteries to the capillary beds and widening of the venules which return the blood from the capillaries to the larger veins.

The team found that in the six months following bariatric surgery, the obese subjects lost an average of 57lbs while also showing improvements in the microvasculature of their retinas. (Source)