Saturday, November 6, 2010

Excess Weight Can Help: Glaucoma

When was the last time you ever heard that excess weight can help you?

Harvard researchers say that being overweight can help women actually resist a form a glaucoma called primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG), one of the most common age-related eye diseases.

With each unit increase in body mass index (BMI) the risk for normal-tension glaucoma decreased in women of white European descent.

"Glaucoma is a potentially blinding illness that damages the optic nerve. Increased pressure in the eye is linked to optic nerve damage. Effective treatments to control eye pressure are available. But in people with normal-tension glaucoma, optic nerve damage happens even though eye pressure is not high," according to researchers.

They speculate that fatty tissue in the body "may release hormonally related signals that help prevent optic nerve deterioration."

However, researchers warn against gaining weight in hopes of preventing glaucoma since we know about the relationship of overweight and obesity with numerous other ailments including heart disease and diabetes.