Many of us know that smoking can damage your lungs, heart, skin, and teeth. However, most people do not know that smoking effects your vision too! Cigarette smoke has a dangerous mixture of over 4,000 chemicals that are toxic to your health and body. This mixture can irritate your eyes from the outside. The one thing we might not know is that this smoke will damage your eye health and erode your vision.
Smoking and Your Eyes
There are several health issues that are tied with smoking. The worst of all of these issues is blindness. A few of these issues directly related to smoked are, but not limited to:
- Cataracts are cloudiness that occurs in the eye’s lens that distorts the vision severely. Smoking increases the risk of cataracts up to three times. This can come at any age.
- Glaucoma is the dying off of nerve cells that can lead to vision loss. There have been studies that show a strong links of smoking and cataracts, high blood pressure, and diabetes which are risk elements of Glaucoma.
- Diabetic Retinopathy can lead to severe eye damage. Smoking can increase your risk of diabetes (if not double). This makes managing the disease even more difficult.
- Macular Degeneration is common disease that occurs when the eye’s primary sight used everyday is worsened. With smokers, the risk of macular degeneration is more than four times greater than nonsmokers.
- Uveittis is the inflammation of the middle layer of your eye (also known as uvea) which can damage the eye’s structure. Overall this can damage your retina and iris and lead to cataracts, glaucoma, and retinal detachment. The risk is more than doubled in smokers.
Tobacco and cigarettes add to your risk of developing eye conditions including cancers of the eyes and other eye conditions. Not only are there direct issues linked to smoking and eye conditions, there are other hazardous linked to smoking. These issues include the increased risk of stroke and high blood pressure that can damage the blood vessels inside smoker’s eyes, that can lead to blindness.
Second hand smoke can also effect women who are pregnant. This can lead to premature birth and putting a child at a higher risk of potential blindness called retinopathy of prematurity as well as other heath issues.
How to Reduce Your Risk
Your eyes are are one of the most important senses you have. Without your eyes, you are lost. You are no longer able to drive or do many of the things that made you so independent. Do your part in reducing your risk of permanent eye damage. The most controllable part of reducing your risk is to quitting smoking. Not only can smoking hurt you, but also avoiding harmful second hand smoke. Protect yourself and your health today. The American Cancer Society is available to help individuals who want to quit smoking. The American Academy of Ophthalmology states that once you quit smoking, your risk of these diseases becomes near as low as people who have never smoked.