So you’ll excuse me for not feeling great about posting two studies in a row, but this seems like it’s info worth sharing. I’ll try to talk about something delicious on Friday.
Today, though, let’s talk about vision. Specifically about cataracts. Did you know that celiac disease can put us at increased risk for cataracts? Me neither, but the numbers seem to suggest that this is the case.
The study in question was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, and came out of Sweden. Approximately 29,000 celiac patients were examined for nearly a decade. The patients were matched up (not physically, just in terms of data) with up to five comparable people from the ‘general population’, and the percentage with cataracts was observed.
It seems that while the average age of diagnosis was stable across populations (about 75 years old), the rate of diagnosis was slightly higher in the celiac population: about 1.25 diagnoses amongst celiacs for every one diagnosis amongst the gluten-eaters.
The reviews of the study (originally, at Caring4GI and then at EmpowerHER) acknowledge that there’s no easy explanation of the discrepancy. Presumably it has to do with nutritional deficiencies, but there are no known deficiencies that link to cataracts. It could also have to do with unresolved inflamatatory concerns, and other autoimmune disorders (like diabetes) have also been linked to cataracts.
For now, the primary takeaways are two: first, keep an eye out (ha!) as you get older. Speak to your doctor if your vision is concerning you.
Second, be sure to eat smart. I know a lot of people refer to junk food vegetarians or junk food vegans – people who follow a diet restricted in some way, shape or form, but do so without actually having regard for their health (the world has no shortage of empty calories to suit all diets). Don’t be a junk food celiac; you owe your body the best you can feed it.