Bariatric Surgery Patients Take Note

2 12 2014

A recent review of ophthalmic complications from bariatric surgery (weight loss) is bringing to light some of the complications that can affect the eyes and the vision system as a result of these surgeries.  In the journal, Obesity Surgery, researchers noted an increased risk of problems related to nutritional deficiencies. (1)  Since these surgeries reduce the amount of intake of food and thus nutrients, persons who do not take vitamin supplements prescribed can have serious complications to the eyes and vision.   The biggest risk is low Vitamin A.  Vitamin A in critical for the function of light receptors in the retina, which helps keep good night vision.   It can also cause severe dry eye and corneal problems as a result.   Eye muscle paralysis and involuntary eye movements  are another possibility.   Other vitamins and minerals needed for function are Vitamin E, Vitamin B1 (thiamine) and Copper.

The AREDS2 study on age related macular degeneration demonstrated less risk of the disease when people had more antioxidant vitamins (Vit. E  & C, Zinc) as well as carotenoid pigments (Lutein and Zeaxanthin) from the food we eat.  The pigment helps protect the macula area of the retina and our body doesn’t produce it.  It makes sense that the macula could deteriorate faster if you have poor nutrition.

With bariatric surgery, it may be hard to digest a tablet let alone swallowing some of those big pills.  There are liquid or chewable vitamins that can be used to help minimize malnutrition by absorbing the vitamins more effectively.  Check with a pharmacist or nutritional expert on the availability of such items.

If you have had bariatric surgery, it is important to have annual eye examinations to make sure the eyes stay healthy.  Make sure you are getting your diet supplemented with a multi-vitamin/mineral supplement that you can take easily and absorb and try to get fruits and vegetables with dark colors in your diet.


1. Rui Azevedo Guerreiro, Rui Ribeiro. Ophthalmic Complications of Bariatric Surgery. Obesity Surgery, 2014

Courtesy of Dumas Vision Source, PLLC and Dr Tory W. Moore, Optometric Glaucoma Specialist and Diplomate of the American Board of Optometry.    Serving the Dumas, Texas,  Moore County and upper Texas Panhandle area for 23 years.   Call (806) 935-2020 for appointment or visit our optical gallery without an appointment.  Visit our website for more information.  Like our Facebook business page:  Dumas Vision Source  and you can also connect on Twitter @eyedocdumas

Tory Moore, OD  – “A Hometown Eye Doctor You Know and Can Trust!”