Authors of a study out of Portugal reviewed available research on the subject of eye health and bariatric surgery and found that nutritional deficiencies can lead to a number of eye conditions.
“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 Azevedo Guerreiro of the Centro Hospitalar de Lisboa Central in Portugal. “Such complications after bariatric surgery are not frequent, but if undetected, they can have devastating consequences for the patients.”
After bariatric surgery, there is a heightened risk for malabsorption, or a reduction of vital nutrients from food sources. In particular, an inadequate amount of vitamin A, increases the risk for dry eyes, corneal ulcers and night blindness. In rare cases it can cause total blindness. A lower intake of vitamins E and B1 (thiamine) and copper are also a concern, since they assist with normal eye and optic system function.
While we recommend a good bariatric multivitamin like the one found at Bariatric Fuel, it’s also a good idea to be aware of the food sources for the aforementioned vitamins and minerals.
Vitamin A – An essential for vision health, among the foods that have a high concentration of vitamin A include: sweet potato, squash, carrots, dark leafy greens (spinach, kale), sweet red peppers.
Vitamin E – A powerful antioxidant, it’s believed that vitamin E protects cells in the eyes from free radical damage. Studies also indicate that vitamin E slows the progression of age-related macular degeneration. Sunflower seeds, spinach, almonds, avocado are all great sources of vitamin E
Vitamin B1 (thiamine) – An essential nutrient that your body needs for maintaining cellular function. Other than fortified food choices, pork, trout, salmon, sunflower seeds, and black beans are all great vitamin B1 sources.
Copper – This essential mineral helps body form red blood cells, and is essential for blood vessel, bone, nerve and immune system function. Seafood (oysters, squid, lobster, crab), kale, sesame seeds and cashews are all great sources of copper.