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The Keto Diet and How It Affects Your Eyes

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Nicole Poree /


Within the last few years, the ketogenic or keto diet has been made famous, with many anecdotes claiming significant weight loss, many exclusive specialty cookbooks, and celebrity endorsements. It is considered as the hot new trend in healthy eating, so if you want to learn how it can affect your eyesight before you give it a try, keep on reading. 

Keto Diet: The Basics

The ketogenic diet involves eating meals that are high in fat, low in carbohydrates, and maintaining normal protein levels. If you want to try this, you should eat less than 50 grams of carbs a day, until your body runs out of fuel. These meals envision putting the body into ketosis, which is a metabolic state where fat and protein is broken down to supply the body's energy.

Regularly, the body gets the fuel from glucose. The supply of sugar comes from things like starches, fruits, and processed sugar. However, when the body is practicing ketosis, it seeks to burn using fat in the food intake.

Is keto diet hard? Basically, you should stay away from foods that are high in carbs and maintain a diet that comprises of the following:

  1. Seafood - Shellfish and fish, like salmon, shrimp, sardines, mackerel, and tuna
  2. Low carb vegetables - Spinach, brussels sprouts, broccoli, zucchini, squash
  3. Cheese and butter
  4. Avocados and berries
  5. Meat and poultry
  6. Eggs
  7. Coconut oil and olive oil
  8. Plain greek yogurt
  9. Nuts and seeds
  10. Shirataki Noodles
  11. Unsweetened coffee and dark chocolate

The trick in doing ketogenic diets is to maintain balance. Because just like everything else, too much of anything can be harmful to anyone, no matter if you believe it to be right for you. On the ketogenic diet, people seek the perfect balance of the required fats, proteins, and carbohydrates so that they can achieve and maintain ketosis.

The Impact of Keto On A Person's Eye Health

At present, there has not been a lot of long-term research materials to study the actual impact of the keto diet, except for its benefits for epilepsy. But, there are significant findings that pertain specifically to eye health.

One major study that was published in the Journal of Neuroscience and another that was published in the Medical Hypothesis, Discovery and Innovation Opthalmology Journal, produced results that show keto has a positive impact on treating glaucoma. Additionally, it can be a little hard to deny the thousands of positive feedbacks and people who champion the practice of this way of eating.

Ketosis and Glaucoma for People with Diabetes

Glaucoma is a progressive disease that involves damages received by the cells that transmit the visual information to the brain. These damages can eventually result in partial vision loss to total blindness.

The higher rates of glaucoma were seen in people who already suffer from diabetes. Some people have also seen the connection between metabolic stress and this eye problem. In fact, the results of a study made in the Northeast Ohio Medical University in the US have shown that the ketogenic diet protects retina cells in their eyes and the nerves to the brain against degeneration.

In the study mentioned earlier, feeding a ketogenic diet to mice that suffer from glaucoma for about two months, has resulted in protected retinas from degeneration by a boosted energy availability.

What If I Get Blurry Vision While on Keto?

There is a possibility to experience blurry vision when you are undergoing the keto diet. Basically, if you just wear the right eye wear and eye care, there would be no need for you to worry. The small chances of experiencing blurry vision while on keto can be caused by diabetes or these illnesses:

  1. Hypoglycemia - This disease occurs when the glucose levels drop lower than what the body requires. It can often be shown by clumsiness, confusion, hunger, shaking, sweating, and weakness. Sometimes, this can occur to keto practitioners who do a cheat day, where they significantly increase their sugar levels. This is because after a few hours, their sugar levels will dramatically crash, or what people call as reactive hypoglycemia.
  2. Thiamine Deficiency - In simple terms, this problem arose from a lack of Vitamin B while being on the keto diet. When these occurred, the patients underwent a thiamine supplement treatment, and it resulted in a clearing up of their vision.

Can The Keto Diet Improve A Person's Vision?

There are several reasons why going for a ketogenic lifestyle to improve a person's vision, prevent acute conditions from worsening, and help avoid problems to occur. Here are two main reasons why.

  1. By removing unhealthy carbs from your diet, the potential for macular degeneration is reduced. In a study made by Tufts University, macular degeneration can be linked to having a high glycemic index rating, meaning eating lots of bread, pasta, and rice.
  2. By stabilizing your blood glucose levels, you reduce the chances of glaucoma. According to a study published by NHI, one of the side effects of keto is it helps protect the eyes against mitochondrial diseases as well as retinal degeneration.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, if you are planning to go keto but are worrying about whether it will impact your eyes in any way, there are no long-term studies yet. However, it is essential to note that if you want to lose weight that will last for a long time, adhere to the program that you prefer and stick with it as long as you can. If you have specific concerns about the effect of the keto diet, seek advice from your trusted medical professional.

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