For years we have been listening to and ignoring the fact that “Smoking is Injurious to Health.” Smoking is popularly known to associate with many health problems. It’s ill effects range from causing Lung issues to a disease like Cancer. However, did you ever think that underneath your breath, smoking is also damaging your eyesight? Well, no right?
The truth is that smoking can cause various eye problems. If you are a chain-smoker, your eyes must experience redness and itchiness due to smoking. Infographics from around the world suggest that smokers are more likely to experience early vision loss than a non-smoker.
Studies proved that the chemicals present in a cigarette can highly damage the retina of our eyes.
1) Macular degeneration is caused by Smoking
Scientifically, our retina is made up of a sensitive component called the macula. The macula is the part of the retina that allows us to see objects which lay directly in front of us. It allows us to read, write, judge colors, etc. Degeneration of macula causes serious vision problems. It may even lead to eyesight loss. Smoking affects the cells of the macula and leads to their degeneration.
2) Smoking leads to Catarac
Statistically, people who smoke excessive cigarettes every day are three times more prone to developing the cataract. It is so because smoking causes coagulation of lens proteins. It leads to a creation of a blurred cloud against the lens.
The middle layer of our eyes is called Uvea. Thus, Uveitis is a disease caused due to inflammation or irritation in the Uvea. The irritation caused to the Uvea is not normal and can lead to vision loss. Uveitis caused due to smoking affects the iris and retina of our eyes. Thus, it leads to problems like glaucoma, cataract and retinal detachment.
4) Smoking also causes Dry Eye syndrome
The surface of the eye should be lubricated with sufficient amount of tears, all the time. This reduces inflammation, itchiness and redness of eyes. Notwithstanding, though, a smoker experiences eye irritation due to insufficient tears on the surface of the eye. It is caused by an influence of nicotine and other constituents of the cigarette. As a matter of fact, dry eyes are also experienced by people working long hours on laptops and computers.
But, smokers are at a risk of the problem twice as much as a non-smoker.
5) Diabetic Retinopathy
Smoking cigarettes cause diabetes. Smoking of a diabetic person can make things worse for him/her as it may lead to diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is a problem causing damage to retinal blood vessels. It can lead to severe vision loss.Not enough yet for you to quit? Well, there is more to the list. Smoking does not affect the eye health of the smoker but also to anyone inhaling smoke passively.
In the case of pregnancy, if a mother directly or passively smokes, it leads to release of toxic hormones in the placenta of the mother and adversely affects the unborn. Irrespective of the degree of damage, what is harmful will always be harmful.
So this No Smoking Day, look out for your own self and people near you. Quit Smoking.
Article: Smoking is injurious to Eyes. Quit Smoking.
Author: Dr Kiran | Mar 31 2017 | UPDATED 02:00 IST
*The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Centre for Sight.