Obesity and sight loss

Research suggests that obesity may put someone more at risk of developing certain eye conditions, which can cause sight loss.

Eye conditions

Obesity can increase the risk of developing:

  • diabetic retinopathy - obesity increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Someone with a body mass index (BMI) of over 35 is up to 80 times more likely to develop the condition than someone with a BMI of less than 22.
  • age-related macular degeneration (AMD) - obesity may increase the risk of developing dry AMD. Dry AMD is likely to impede the ability to carry out daily activities such as driving, reading a newspaper or watching television. Obesity also increases the speed of progression of AMD.
  • cataracts - overweight people can have double the risk of developing cataracts compared to people who are not overweight. Cataracts usually don't lead to blindness as they are treatable.

Feeling great, looking good

Download our “Feeling great, looking good” report to find out more about the link between obesity and sight loss:

We're here to help

Our Helpline is your direct line to the support, advice, and products you need to face the future with confidence. If you or someone you know has a sight problem, our specialist advice workers can help.

The RNIB Helpline can:

  • put you in touch with an RNIB specialist advice service such as welfare benefits and rights, education, employment, legal rights, emotional support, daily living help and residential care
  • send you free information and leaflets
  • give you details of support groups and services in your area.

Call us on 0303 123 9999 or email helpline@rnib.org.uk, open from 8am - 8pm weekdays and 9am - 1pm Saturdays.

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