People who undergo weight-loss surgery face increased risks for vision loss because they can become deficient in vitamin A — making the need for dietary changes or supplements critical.
That’s the upshot of new research on obese patients who have had bariatric surgery to shed weight that finds they should take the supplements typically prescribed to them to protect their eyes.
Taking in too little Vitamin A, in particular, could in some cases actually cause night blindness, dry eyes, corneal ulcers, and in extreme cases total blindness, scientists from the Centro Hospitalar de Lisboa Central in Portugal report in the journal Obesity Surgery.
"There is a risk that bariatric surgery patients, who do not take the vitamin and mineral supplements prescribed to them, could develop eye-related complications because of nutrient deficiencies," said researcher Rui Azevedo Guerreiro. "Such complications after bariatric surgery are not frequent, but if undetected, they can have devastating consequences for the patients."
Three different types of bariatric surgery are performed to help with weight loss in obese patients: restrictive (such as adjustable gastric banding and gastric sleeve), malabsorptive, and mixed procedures (including Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and biliopancreatic diversion) that combine the first two types of surgeries.
One of the drawbacks of these operations is that patients can develop nutrient deficiencies because patients vomit more often, eat less, or develop food intolerances.
The lower intake of especially vitamins A, E, and B1 (thiamine) and copper are the most concerning, as these help with the normal functioning of the eye and optic system. Vitamin A deficiency, in particular, is linked to eye-related complications developing after bariatric surgery.
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