Smoking is bad, I don’t have to tell you that, you know it, your next door neighbor knows it, everyone knows it. But, did you know that in the list of terrible things that can happen to you if you smoke is vision lost?
Now you may be wondering, how can smoking cause you to lose your vision? Well, cigarette smoke contains around 7,000 chemicals. When you breath in, all these chemicals start entering your blood stream and causing damages throughout the body. That includes your eyes. Damages to the eyes are often permanent. The easiest way to protect your vision is to stop smoking.
If you already have some eye problems, smoking will worsen it and it may even cause more problems. Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a condition in which the macula at the back of your eyes are damaged thus leading to loss of detailed central vision. AMD has no cure but some treatments can be taken to slow down the progression of AMD but only some types of AMD. One of the ways to reduce your risk of developing this is to stop smoking. Smokers are three times more likely to develop AMD than those who do not smoke. There are more likely to lose their vision earlier than non-smokers.
Cataracts is a condition where the lens of your eyes become cloudy leading to blurred vision. This condition develops with age and can be treated surgically by replacing the damaged lens. Smokers who smoke 20 or more pieces of cigarettes per day are twice as likely to develop this compared to someone who doesn’t smoke.
Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) occurs when there is damage to the blood vessels at the back of your eye (retina) that may lead to vision loss and blindness. All diabetic individuals are at risk of DR. A good management of diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol can reduce the risk of DR. Getting your eyes check regularly are important to detect and treat DR before vision can be affected. Smoking way worsen DR in people of type 1 diabetes and smoker are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Now, did you know if you smoke and wear contacts, you are more likely to develop an infection and swelling in the eyes compared to non-smokers. This can lead to scaring and possible vision loss over time.
Secondhand smoke can irritate the eyes of non-smokers which can lead to stinging, burning or prickling sensations watery eyes ad redness.
To prevent any of this from happening or to reduce the risk, stop smoking as soon as possible or better yet, just don’t start! While some of the effects of smoking can be reverse, there are damages that can be permanent. The earlier you quit, the better your eyes and overall health will be. Have regular eyes tests with an eye health professional either an optometrist or an ophthalmologist. This can help detect any eye problems early this preventing vision lost.