If you are a smoker, you are no doubt tired of everyone nagging you to quit – from your mother to ads on TV. However, there is yet one more reason to quit: it seems that smoking is extremely bad for your eyes and increases the risk of many eye problems.
How does smoking affect eye health?
Smoking increases the risk of:
- Cataracts. This is a clouding of the eye’s lens and a leading cause of blindness throughout the world. Over half of Americans will develop cataracts; the risk doubles if you are a smoker.
- Age-related macular degeneration. This results in a decrease in your central vision and is the leading cause of vision loss in Americans over the age of 65. Smokers have a three-fold increased risk of developing this problem.
- Diabetic retinopathy. This disease involves damage to the blood vessels in the retina and eventually leads to blindness. It is very often found in patients with diabetes.
- Uveitis. This inflammation of the eye’s middle layer can result in damage to the iris and retina and can lead to cataracts, glaucoma, retinal detachment, and eventually vision loss. Smokers are over two times more likely to develop uveitis than nonsmokers.
- Dry eyes. Many people have dry eyes, but tobacco smoke can make dry eyes worse, especially for those who wear contact lenses and even for those who are getting second hand smoke.
- Infant eye disorders. Women who smoke while pregnant are passing on toxins to the baby, which can cause crossed eyes and an underdeveloped optic nerve. It can also increase the risk that the baby will be born prematurely, which can also lead to eye problems for the baby.
After years of being told how you should stop smoking, at this point you probably tune the warnings out. But you should at least be aware of what smoking can do to the eyes – bad vision and eye diseases can affect how you work and play and can reduce your quality of life. If you need help caring for your eyes, contact The Eye Care Institute in Louisville, KY. The number is (502) 589-1500. Call today!