Obese people are twice as likely to lose their sight because the additional weight puts them at a higher risk of developing certain conditions, according to a new report.
A study, conducted by the Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB), has found that severely overweight patients are more likely to develop cataracts, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma.
Millions of people in the UK could therefore be at risk of suffering permanent damage to their sight or may require eye surgery to correct conditions.
Barbara McLaughlan, report author and eye health consultant at the RNIB, revealed: "Obesity doubles the risk of cataracts and increases the risk of retinal vein occlusion (where veins that drain blood out of the eye become blocked) by four times."
Ms McLaughlan continued: "With a staggering one in five adults and children in the UK now considered to be obese, RNIB believes it is vital that people are made aware of the risks to their sight.
"Sight is the sense we most fear losing, but most people don't do nearly enough to look after their eyes."
People are advised to maintain a healthy weight, eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, exercise and avoid smoking in order to safeguard their eyesight.
In addition, regular eye tests can help to pick up conditions at an early stage, enabling patients to receive treatment before their sight deteriorates further.