Weight-Loss Injections Linked to Potential Blindness Risk, Study Reveals

by Daisy

A recent study has raised concerns about the potential link between popular weight-loss injections and a serious eye condition that can lead to blindness. The research indicates that people with diabetes who are prescribed semaglutide, a drug found in Wegovy and Ozempic, are more than four times more likely to develop non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION).

NAION is a disorder characterized by blocked arteries supplying blood to the optic nerve, leading to oxygen deprivation and subsequent nerve damage. This condition, which affects approximately 10 out of every 100,000 people, currently has no known cure.


The study, conducted by researchers at Harvard University and published in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology, analyzed data from 16,827 patients treated at the Mass Eye and Ear Harvard teaching hospital over six years. Among these patients, 710 had type 2 diabetes, with 194 prescribed semaglutide.


Key findings include:

Patients with Type 2 Diabetes: Of the 710 patients, 17 NAION cases occurred in those taking semaglutide, compared to six in those on other diabetes medications. Over three years, 8.9% of semaglutide users developed NAION, versus 1.8% on other drugs.
Overweight or Obese Patients: Of the 975 overweight or obese patients, 20 NAION cases were linked to semaglutide users, compared to three in those using other weight-loss drugs. Over three years, 6.7% of semaglutide users developed NAION, versus 0.8% on other medications.
Prof. Joseph Rizzo of Harvard Medical School emphasized the need for further studies to validate these findings. “Our findings should be viewed as significant but tentative,” he said, highlighting the importance of patient-doctor discussions, especially for those with existing optic nerve issues.


Graham McGeown, honorary professor at Queen’s University Belfast, echoed the need for larger studies, noting the rapid increase in semaglutide use. He stressed that potential drug side effects must always be weighed against the benefits.

Semaglutide, marketed as Wegovy, has been prescribed for weight loss by the NHS since 2023. A spokesperson for Novo Nordisk, the manufacturer of Ozempic and Wegovy, stated that patient safety is paramount and that NAION is not currently listed as a known adverse reaction in the drug’s official documentation.


You may also like


Your go-to fitness resource, offering customized workout plans, nutrition guidance, and expert wellness advice. Committed to empowering all fitness levels with cutting-edge tools, reliable content, and a holistic approach to achieving health and vitality.

Copyright © 2023