Anorexia causes eye damage
Anorexia nervosa can cause potentially serious eye damage, scientists have warned.
A study has found that long-term anorexia affects the thickness of the macula, which sits behind the retina at the back of the eye and is responsible for fine detailed vision.
In women with anorexia, the macula and the nerve layers feeding it were significantly thinner than in healthy women.
Those with bulimia - who indulge in bouts of binge eating and then make themselves sick - had the thinnest maculas.
There was also significantly less firing of electrical neurotransmitters, passing signals from the eye to the brain, in those with the eating disorders.
The authors of the study, published today (WED) in the British Journal of Opthalmology, said it was not clear whether macular thinning and decreased neurotransmitter activity were the initial stages of progressive blindness, or were reversible with the resumption of a normal diet. Poor eyesight is a well-known side effect of anorexia.
The study, by Athens University Medical School, looked at 13 women who had suffered from anorexia for an average of 10 years, and 20 women who ate normally.