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Retina

Study finds link between body weight and retinal thickness

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There appears to be a significant association between body weight, specifically preobesity and obesity, and changes in retinal thickness, according to a study that suggests individuals who are preobese, even without hyperglycemia, tend to have thicker central macular regions, while obese individuals exhibit thinner retinas.

The comparative cross-sectional study, which involved 131 participants, categorized individuals into 3 groups based on their BMI: normal (18.5-24.9 kg/m²), preobese (25-29.9 kg/m²), and obese (>30 kg/m²). All participants underwent comprehensive ophthalmological examinations, including optical coherence tomography (OCT) to assess retinal thickness.

There were significant differences in retinal thickness among the groups. Notably, the central foveal thickness was found to be higher in the preobese group compared to both normal and obese individuals. Conversely, obese participants exhibited thinner retinas compared to their counterparts.

The mean thickness in the inferior region of the Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study (ETDRS) circle was notably higher in preobese individuals and lower in obese individuals. However, differences in nasal, temporal, and superior thickness within the ETDRS circle, as well as peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer thickness, were not statistically significant between the groups.

The researchers highlighted that these findings suggest a potential link between body weight and retinal health. Specifically, preobesity, even without hyperglycemia, was associated with thicker central macular regions, whereas obesity correlated with retinal thinning. This underscores the importance of considering lipid metabolism’s impact on retinal thickness changes and potential retinal neurodegeneration.

Reference
Celik E, Polat E, Togac M, Ersöz G. Retinal thickness changes in preobese and obese patients without hyperglycemia: optical coherence tomography study. Photodiagnosis Photodyn Ther. 2024;104074. doi: 10.1016/j.pdpdt.2024.104074. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 38583748.

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