HOW DOES SMOKING AFFECT EYE HEALTH?

Dr. Jim Martin 02/16/2015

smoking_cigarette.jpgSmoking can cause a host of health problems, especially to your heart and lungs. However, many people don't know the issues smoking can cause when it comes to your eyes and vision. Not only does quitting smoking significantly reduce the chances of emphysema and lung cancer, but it can also save your vision.

Cataracts

Though anyone can develop cataracts, there is a link between smoking and cataracts that is more pronounced. If you smoke, your risk of developing cataracts at an earlier age increases by 50%, and this can cause discomfort and compromised vision. Cataracts actually cloud the lenses of your eyes, making it difficult to see clearly.

Macular Degeneration

A serious issue that can have lasting consequences, macular degeneration occurs when a portion of the retina begins to deteriorate. This can create issues like blurriness, blind spots, and eventually, permanent vision loss. Smokers are three times more likely to develop macular degeneration than non-smokers.

Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis is a general term for overall eye irritation, which can lead to pinkeye, a very uncomfortable eye infection that must be treated by a doctor. Your eyes become red, itchy, watery and irritated. When you smoke, smoke gets in your eyes. This can cause irritation that may trigger conjunctivitis, which could make your eyes burn and water.  

Dry Eyes

Find yourself reaching for eye drops frequently? If you're a smoker, chances are your smoking has caused dry eyes. This means your eyes aren't properly lubricated, causing irritation and redness. Cigarette smoke contributes to dry eyes; if you smoke, your chances of having this problem double. If you wear contacts, the problem is exacerbated. Even secondhand smoke can affect the eyes of others around you.

Diabetic Retinopathy

When you smoke, one of the issues you face is higher instances of diabetes. This isn't just a health issue, but an eye issue, too. Diabetic retinopathy stems from diabetes. It affects the blood vessels of your eyes and keeps you from seeing properly, and eventually, leads to total vision loss. It's a common complication of diabetes, but if you quit smoking, you cut your risk significantly for both diabetes and its complications.

Want to find out if your eyes are healthy or speak with a doctor about possible eye damage from smoking? Contact the professionals atBroome Optical in Amarillo to find out more. We provide a range of services, including eye exams, cataracts diagnosis, retinopathy treatment, and macular degeneration services. We also carry a wide variety of eyewear, including prescription glasses and sunglassesand contact lenses.

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