Smoking and Your Eyes

While the health dangers associated with smoking cigarettes are well documented, they generally focus on lung cancer and respiratory issues such as asthma and emphysema. But did you know that smoking can also cause serious damage to your eyes?

There are approximately 4,000 chemicals introduced into your bloodstream when you smoke cigarettes. Many of these chemicals can result in severe damage to your vision. In fact, smoking can increase your risk of developing age-related eye conditions such as macular degeneration and cataracts.

Smoking is the leading preventable risk factor for macular degeneration, which is the most common cause of blindness among people over the age of 65. In fact, a 2006 study published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology found that smoking was a causal factor in approximately 25% of all age-related macular degeneration cases resulting in vision loss. Furthermore, living with someone who smokes will double your risk of developing the condition.

Studies have also found smoking to be a considerable risk factor in developing cataracts, a condition occurring when your eye’s natural lens becomes clouded. People who smoke 15 or more cigarettes a day are three times as likely to develop cataracts as nonsmokers. Researchers believe that cigarette smoke increases your risk of cataracts by boosting the oxidative stress on your eye’s lens.

If you didn’t already have enough reasons to quit smoking, add protecting your vision to the list. Years of smoking will take its toll on your body in many ways, and your vision is too important to place in jeopardy.

Please contact today to find an experienced ophthalmologist near you.