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Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2014 Aug;42(6):564-73. doi: 10.1111/ceo.12290. Epub 2014 Mar 13.

Review of the role of refined dietary sugars (fructose and glucose) in the genesis of retinal disease.

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Centre for Eye Research Australia, Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, University of Melbourne, East Melbourne, Victoria; Vision Centre Gold Coast, Southport, Queensland, Australia.


This review examines the current evidence of the relationship between sugar consumption and the development of retinal and other eye diseases including diabetic retinopathy, hypertensive retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, non-arteritic anterior ischaemic optic neuropathy and cataract. Sucrose is comprised of fructose and glucose. Sugar consumption has increased five-fold over the last century, with high quantities of sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup found in processed food and soft drinks. This increased consumption is increasingly recognized as a central factor in the rapidly rising rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes. The body metabolizes fructose and glucose differently, with fructose appearing to have the greater propensity to contribute to the metabolic syndrome. This review examines the effect of high rates of dietary consumption of refined carbohydrates on the eye, including the effect of chronic hyperglycaemia on microvascular disease in diabetic retinopathy, and the pathophysiological changes in the retinal circulation in hypertensive retinopathy.


diabetic retinopathy; fructose; metabolic syndrome; retinal vascular disease; sugar

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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