2018 is here!
It’s a new year, which means many people are signing up for gym memberships, starting new diets, and resolving to have a healthier and happier year.
Speaking of health—
Did you know that smoking negatively affects every organ of your body?
With every puff of smoke, thousands of toxic chemicals are wreaking havoc on your lungs, your heart, your skin, and yes—even your eyes!
So, what do your eyes have to lose because of smoking? A lot.
Every time you light up, you are increasing your risk of developing the following eye problems:
1. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
Photo from: https://allabouteyes.com/need-know-macular-degeneration/
Smokers are twice as likely to develop AMD as non-smokers (1). Macular degeneration causes loss of central vision, which may affect your ability to do simple activities like read, drive, or see people’s faces clearly. There is currently no cure for AMD, but there are treatments that can slow down its progress (2).
Cataracts impair vision because of a clouding of the eye’s lens. Your vision would be similar to as if you were looking through a fogged-up window. Other signs and symptoms of cataracts include seeing “halos”, light sensitivity, and difficulty with night vision (3). Smokers are two to three times more likely than non-smokers to develop cataracts. (4)
3. Dry Eye
Tobacco smoke aggravates symptoms of dry eye syndrome. Symptoms of dry eye include:
- Feeling of something in the eye; grittiness
- Blurred Vision
4. Retinopathy of Prematurity
Pregnant women who smoke have a higher likelihood of giving birth prematurely. In addition to low birth weight, premature babies are more susceptible to developing a potentially blinding condition, called retinopathy of prematurity. This condition is characterized by the growth of abnormal blood vessels throughout the retina and can cause future eye problems including (5):
- Retinal detachment
- Crossed Eyes (Strabismus)
- Nearsightedness (Myopia)
- Lazy Eye (Amblyopia)
This condition is an inflammation of the uvea, which is the middle layer of the eye. Inflammation can cause permanent tissue damage within the eye. Side effects may include light sensitivity, pain, redness, floaters, and decreased vision (6). Tobacco users are twice as likely as non-smokers to develop uveitis (7)
6. Other conditions
Smoking increases likelihood of developing certain cancers of the eye, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy.
The moment you give up smoking is the moment you start to improve your overall health. Watch below to see what changes happen inside your body once you quit smoking.
Your likelihood of developing eye diseases starts to diminish as soon as you quit.
Instead of lighting up a cigarette, let your eyes light up with all the wonderful things they can see!
For tips and support on how to quit smoking, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/index.html
Many eye conditions develop slowly and without immediate symptoms, so we encourage you to continue getting regular eye exams. Start your year off right and give us a call today to schedule your annual eye exam with Dr. Ashcraft.
1—Centers for Disease Control And Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/features/smoking-eyesight/
2—All About Vision. http://www.allaboutvision.com/conditions/amd.htm
4—Centers for Disease Control And Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/features/smoking-eyesight/
5–National Eye Institute. https://nei.nih.gov/health/rop/rop
6—National Eye Institute. https://nei.nih.gov/health/uveitis/uveitis
7—American Academy of Ophthalmology. https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/smokers
Written by Kendra Shiffler