Does anorexia affect the eyes?
Yes, anorexia nervosa can affect the eyes. One common eye condition seen among people with anorexia is orbital fat atrophy, which is when the fat cells around the eyes shrink. Orbital fat atrophy can lead to lagophthalmos, a condition that keeps the eyes from completely closing while sleeping. When the eyes can’t close during sleep, it can irritate the eyes. (2)
One study found women with anorexia had physical changes to their eyes. (1) The research analyzed the macula, the part of the eye responsible for processing light and registering details in the center of vision. The women with anorexia had a significantly thinner macula, and the nerves surrounding the macula appeared thinner. Women with anorexia also had less dopamine neurotransmission, which helps the brain process images.
Does anorexia affect vision?
In the study that looked at women’s macula, researchers found no evidence of vision discrepancies. But they did note the physical changes of the macula were early signs associated with progressive blindness. Further research is needed to determine if the changes were permanent or reversed once an individual heals from anorexia. (1)
More studies found reversible acute vision loss in women with anorexia due to malnutrition. (3) Vitamins play a crucial role in a person’s vision. Vitamin A keeps the cornea clear, vitamins E and C protect eye cells, and various forms of vitamin B can help prevent common eye conditions, such as glaucoma. (4) Not getting enough of these vitamins can result in impaired vision.
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