Smoking harms almost every organ in your body including your eyes. Heart disease and cancer are some of the most prevalent health effects of cigarette smoking but sight-threatening vision and eye problems are less known.
Smokers are almost four times more likely to go blind as they age than non-smokers. Here are more reasons why you should kick the habit to save your vision.
Tobacco smoke is a causative agent in worsening dry eyes, particularly for contact lens wearers. People who smoke are about twice as likely to develop dry eyes.
Cataracts are one of the leading causes of blindness in the world. More than 50% of Americans will develop a cataract or have had cataract surgery by the age of 80. Smoking increases the risk of developing cataracts than non-smokers. In fact, research shows that smokers double their odds of having cataracts which increases the more they smoke.
Uveitis is a serious eye disease that can lead to complete vision loss which harms the iris and retina that can cause cataracts, retinal detachment, and glaucoma. Smoking appears to be linked 2.2 times greater to the development of uveitis.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of permanent loss of vision in Americans over 65 years old. This causes “blind spots” and severely impairs central vision. Studies show that smokers have three times more chances of developing AMD and female smokers over 80 years old are 5.5 times are more prone to AMD than non-smokers of the same age.
Infant Eye Disease
Pregnant women who smoke during pregnancy transmit dangerous toxins to the placenta which can harm the unborn child. Smoking while pregnant poses an increased chance of many fetal and infant eye disorders along with other serious health problems.
These complications include strabismus (crossed eyes) and underdeveloped optic nerve, which is a preeminent cause of blindness in children. Also, smoking pregnant women are more prone to premature birth which increases the risk of eye problems to premature babies than full-term babies.
Are You Ready To Quit?
But it’s not all bad news. Smoking is the biggest controllable risk factor associated with different health conditions especially AMD. Quitting smoking at any age can significantly reduce your risks of developing AMD and many sight-threatening eye conditions.
It is never too late to quit smoking and live a healthier life and body. Visit smokefree.gov to get started on your journey to quitting smoking, or see your doctor who can recommend helpful methods to help you on your journey.