Smoking is associated with a lot of health hazards like lung cancer and heart diseases, but did you know that it can also largely impact your eyesight? The toxic particles present in cigarette smoke like carbon monoxide, traces of nicotine and formaldehyde are known to impact eye health adversely.
As per studies, some of the most common eye problems that smoking accelerates are:
- Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Those who smoke are thrice at the risk of developing AMD. The risk of developing it also doubles in passive smokers. However, the only way to avoid this from happening is to not smoke.
- Cataract Compared to non smokers, those who smoke heavily are likely to develop cataract three times more.
- Glaucoma Since smoking leads to high blood pressure, for patients with cataracts and diabetes it could lead to glaucoma
- Diabetic Retinopathy Smoking is linked to increased chances of getting diabetes. It can also aggravate many health complications caused by diabetes, one of them being retinopathy to the eyes.
- Dry Eye Syndrome Smoke containing traces of tobacco is known to be an eye irritant. It worsens the dry eye syndrome by leading to excessive red eyes, itchiness etc. As compared to nonsmokers, smokers are twice at the risk of developing dry eye syndrome.
There are certain habits that one can adopt in order to lower the risk of eye problems associated with smoking and to prevent vision loss. They are:
- Kill the cause for the problems- quit smoking!
- Involve fruits, green leafy vegetable and foods that contain a lot of vitamin C, E and beta carotene in your diet.
- Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol under control.
- Exercise and stay active.
- Visit your eye care professional and go for eye tests regularly.
- Avoid exposure through passive smoking.
Detecting your eye problems early should help you treat them in time and prevent them from getting severe. In some cases early detection of problems caused due to smoking and their timely treatment has put a halt or slowed down the disease from progressing. Hence, booking an eye test with your eye care expert, especially if you are a smoker, at least twice a year becomes very important. Your eyes are precious; give them the care they deserve.