While obesity has been associated with increased IOPs, the results to now have been inconclusive. Researchers investigated the IOP among groups with different combinations of obesity status and metabolic health status.
South Korean researchers reported that individuals who were metabolically unhealthy with a normal weight had higher intraocular pressures (IOPs) compared with those who were metabolically healthy regardless of the body mass index (BMI).1
The investigators are from the Department of Ophthalmology, Yeouido St. Mary’s Hospital, College of Medicine, and the Health Promotion Center, Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital, College of Medicine, both from the Catholic University of Korea, Seoul.
While obesity has been associated with increased IOPs, the results to now have been inconclusive. The research group, led by Younhea Jung, MD, investigated the IOP among groups with different combinations of obesity status and metabolic health status.
The study included 20,385 adults (age range, 19 to 85 years) between May 2015 and April 2016. The patients were divided into four groups according to obesity (BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2) and the metabolic health status that was defined based on medical history or abdominal obesity, dyslipidemia, low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high blood pressure, or high fasting blood glucose levels.
The authors reported that the mean IOP of the metabolically unhealthy obese group (14.38 ± 0.06 mm Hg) was the highest, followed by that of the metabolically unhealthy normal-weight group (14.22 ± 0.08 mm Hg), and the metabolically healthy groups (p < 0.001; 13.50 ± 0.05 mm Hg and 13.06 ± 0.03 mm Hg in the metabolically healthy obese and metabolically healthy normal-weight groups, respectively).
“Subjects who were metabolically unhealthy had higher IOPs compared to their counterparts who were metabolically healthy at all BMI levels, and there was a linear increase in IOP as the number of metabolic disease components increased, but no difference between normal-weight vs. obese individuals,” the authors wrote. “While obesity, metabolic health status, and each component of metabolic disease were associated with higher IOP, those in the metabolically unhealthy normal-weight group showed higher IOPs than those who were metabolically healthy but obese, which indicates that the metabolic status has a greater impact than obesity on IOP.
The authors wrote that they believe that their findings “have potential clinical and public health implications and highlight the greater role of metabolic health status than obesity in IOP elevation.”
1. Jung Y, Kim GN, Oh EB, et al. Metabolic health, obesity, and intraocular pressure. J Clin Med. 2023;12:2066; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm12052066