Friday 27 April 2018

Smoke gets in your eyes: How smoking affects your eye health

SMOKERS are almost twice (47%) as likely to suffer from age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma and cataracts*.

Despite this statistic, nine out of 10 smokers are unaware of the link between smoking and eye disease. In addition, anyone who has a family history of any of these health problems is 100 times more likely to contract these conditions.

Specsavers clinical advisor Paul Carroll says: "We are always trying to raise awareness of preventable sight loss and many eye disorders are aggravated by the harsh chemicals in cigarettes."

When you inhale a cigarette, approximately 4,000 chemicals enter your bloodstream and travel throughout your body.

Some of these substances cause blood vessels at the back of the eye to burst damaging the macula, which is the most sensitive part of the retina, resulting in irreversible damage that will ultimately lead to loss of vision.

Mr Carroll, a non-smoker, warns: "Nicotine slowly poisons the optic nerve causing impaired colour vision. Smokers also have a higher likelihood of developing cataracts, one of the most common causes of blindness and visual impairment. Alongside the ageing effects of smoking, there really are no benefits."

* Ronald Klien et al, Arch Ophthalmol. 2008;126(1): 115-121 2008

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