Researchers Link Weight Loss to Lowered IOP

Bariatric surgery is known to improve several obesity-related conditions including high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, depression, and sleep apnea. Now, researchers have reason to believe that weight loss surgery could have a positive effect on intraocular pressure (IOP).

A prospective case-controlled study evaluated 50 test subjects – half of whom were morbidly obese individuals scheduled for bariatric surgery and half of whom were age- and gender-matched controls of average weight. Researchers collected IOP measurements in seven positions:

  • Sitting with the head straight
  • Sitting with the head flexed at 30 degrees
  • Sitting with the head extended to 30 degrees
  • Lying down flat
  • Lying down on the right side
  • Lying down on the left side
  • Lying down with the head and upper body elevated at 30 degrees with a wedge pillow

The second part of the study followed the obese participants for one to two years following bariatric surgery using the same methods.

Researchers noted that the mean IOP in all positions was much higher in obese subjects than the average weight control group, with a mean difference of 2.5 mm Hg. There was no difference in mean IOP among the three seated positions.

After an average follow-up time of 17 months, researchers evaluated 19 of the test subjects who underwent bariatric surgery. The mean IOP of these subjects had decreased significantly, with an average difference of 1.6 mm Hg.

Linear regression showed that every 10 percent loss of overall body weight was associated with a 1.4 mm Hg IOP decrease in the right eye and 2.4 mm Hg decrease in the right eye. The results of this study were published in the Journal of Glaucoma (Source: Healio).