It’s well-established that excessive sugar consumption can cause weight (fat) gain, diabetes, inflammation, liver disease, kidney disease, and the proliferation of cancer cells. As it turns out, as Pravda reports, the eyes also show the effects in a bad way.
People with diabetes sometimes get diabetic retinopathy, which is damage to the blood retina (the light receptors inside the eye) due to too high blood sugar over a long period of time. The blood vessels get blocked, especially from a combination of glucose and fructose, and new cells vessels form as a result, but these new vessels are weak and rupture easily, causing blood to leak into the retina and causing loss of vision. Or at least that’s the explanation the experts give.
Another effect of diabetes is the increased blood sugar gets to the lens inside the eye, causing it to swell, throwing off the carefully calibrated focus that the eye has learned to adjust for at various distances.
This swelling of the lens will cause worse vision in people with myopia already, leading them to believe that they need stronger glasses. If they are good little patients and scamper off to the eye doctor right away, they do indeed get prescribed stronger glasses. Whether or not their blood sugar goes down soon afterwards, they eventually start wearing the stronger glasses full-time. This adaptation to stronger and stronger glasses is a main cause of the progression (worsening) of existing myopia.
But that’s not all. The swelling of the lens can disrupt the flow of aqueous fluid inside the eye, causing the high pressure that is characteristic of glaucoma.
Sugar addiction is prevalent throughout our society. Candy bars, sugary coffee drinks, soft drinks, sugary iced teas, fruit juice with added sugar… they’re everywhere. Even most processed food that doesn’t really taste sweet contains added sugar of some kind or another. It’s a tough addiction to overcome. People with myopia have bad vision habits that fatigue and slow down the visual system, and the prospect of some sugar to speed things back up is enticing.
The best thing to do is to start weaning yourself off sugar a little at a time. Going cold turkey probably won’t work. Eat a little less sugar each week, replacing it with fats and more healthy foods that give you nutrition along with the calories. Once your body learns to burn fat for energy, you won’t have those intense sugar or carb cravings anymore.
Update 2019 – I wrote a longer article on nutrition for vision problems.
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