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.
This new study could impact Mama June Shannon, Honey Boo Boo’s mom and star of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, who has undergone multiple weight loss surgeries.
She went from 460lbs to a size 4 after altering her diet, working out and going under the knife to remove part of her stomach.
But the mother-of-four also suffers from legal blindness caused by childhood cataracts that were not properly treated when she was younger, which can be caused by genetics or unhealthy life choices such as obesity.
Researchers said early eye damage caused by obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes can be potentially reversed by weight loss surgery.
Mama June Shannon, 38, went down to a size 4 by changing her diet, exercising and getting weight loss surgery. Her surgeries removed part of her stomach and excess skin. Researchers claim weight loss surgery can help improve poor eyesight that was caused by obesity
She is legally blind because of childhood cataracts that were never properly treated. People can impair their eyesight by having obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease
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.
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.
Arteriolar narrowing and venular widening were both less pronounced, whereas no such changes took place in the control group.
The authors said: ‘The findings suggest obesity-related microvascular changes are reversible after bariatric surgery-induced weight loss.
‘The capacity for the retinal microvasculature to improve following bariatric surgery suggests plasticity of the human microvasculature early in the disease course.’