- Smoking is a generally harmful habit that can cause numerous ailments and disorders. In fact, all scientific evidence points to the disastrous effects that it can have, not only on respiratory and cardiovascular health but also on eye health.
- Irritation, blurred vision, blind spots and optic nerve damage are only a few eye conditions that are correlated to smoking.
- Smoking also causes serious eye problems that can eventually lead to blindness.
How Smoking Causes Eye Problems
Smoking hinders blood flow to the retina which contains the macula that’s responsible for sharp, detailed visuals. This leads to age-related macular degeneration or AMD. This causes smokers to have more ‘blind spots’ on their retina.
Although aging can bring about a higher chance of having cataracts, exposure to tobacco smoke can lead to a significantly faster progression of the condition that causes an increased opacity of the lenses. Blurred vision is one of the symptoms, and smokers have twice the risk of having cataracts compared to non-smokers.
Many studies have revealed the negative impact of smoking on diabetes, and diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes which can be aggravated by smoking.
A severe eye condition called uveitis involves the inflammation of the middle layer of the eye. Smokers have a higher chance of having this condition compared to those who don’t smoke.
Smoking worsens dry eyes because smoke can cause itching, irritation, and redness which makes the eyes more susceptible to infection. Irritant chemicals in tobacco smoke can also cause watery eyes.
High blood pressure has been correlated with smoking, and those who suffer from it have a tendency to develop glaucoma which causes blood vessel damage in the retina.
Pregnant people who smoke may give birth prematurely, and their babies may have a condition called retinopathy of prematurity, wherein retinopathy is developed during the neonatal stage.
A considerable number of patients who smoke regularly have been reported to suffer from optic nerve damage.
In the long run, these eye problems could result to complete vision loss, which tells us that lighting a cigarette really does have grave effects on eye health.
Prevention and Treatment
Do not smoke — this is the only surefire way of preventing eye problems that affect ocular function and the other body systems. Medical or surgical treatment will be done in vain if the affected person continues to smoke. Quitting at the earliest possible time will pave the way to recovery.
Discontinuing smoking habits should be done gradually to avoid withdrawal syndrome which might have moderate to severe symptoms. In many cases, smokers are recommended to check in to rehabilitation centers to help encourage them to stop smoking completely.
Source: News Medical