Does Smoking Affect My Eye Health?

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It is no secret that smoking causes serious damage to your lungs and overall health, but have you ever thought about how it affects your vision? Yes, smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, and a wide range of other serious health ailments, but it also can lead to vision loss. Researchers note that smoking is the most preventable cause of disease and a shortened life span in the United States. This is due to numerous factors, but namely that smoking actually damages every single organ in your body, including your eyes.

Regardless of how old you are, smoking increases your chance of developing cloudy vision (such as cataracts) and central vision loss. Unfortunately, the more you smoke, the more at risk you are of sustaining some level of vision loss. Furthermore, smokers are twice as likely to develop uveitis, which is a life-threatening condition that affects the middle layer of the eye. Cigarette smoke is composed of a handful of harmful toxic chemicals, such as nicotine, carbon monoxide, and formaldehyde. These toxins can both directly and indirectly impact your eye health, drastically decreasing life expectancy. Here at First Eye Care, we strive to educate our patients to ensure they have the tools and knowledge to properly care for their eyes. We often field the question of whether or not smoking is harmful to the eyes, and today we would like to explore that topic a bit more in depth. Cigarette smoke not only affects smokers, but those who are exposed to secondhand smoke.

With that in mind, here’s a look at what smoking can do to your eye health:

  • Smoking can result in cataracts (which is characterized by cloudy, blurry vision) – Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in the world and smokers have a much higher risk of developing cataracts in one or both eyes. In fact, some studies indicate those who smoke double their chance of developing cataracts.
  • Smoking can lead to inflammation of the conjunctiva – Smokers often experience bloodshot, irritated eyes.
  • Smoking can result in macular degeneration – Macular degeneration is one of the top causes of blindness in the United States and is linked to cardiovascular disease. As we know, smoking can cause cardiovascular disease.
  • Smokers are at a higher risk of diabetic retinopathy – The only way to stop the progression of diabetic retinopathy is to stop smoking.
  • Smoking causes dry eye syndrome – Those who have dry eye syndrome often experience insufficient tears on the surface of the eye, which can be caused by smoking.

To learn more about eye health and how smoking impacts your vision, please contact First Eye Care today. Our Arlington eye care center is here to answer any questions you may have and help you achieve optimal health and wellness.

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