Most people already know how smoking is dangerous to your health. But did you know it can also affect your eye? Smokers are at a greater risk for developing certain eye problems that can cause vision loss or blindness. If you smoke, here are some things you should know.
Eye Problems Associated with Smoking
Research shows that smoking increases the risk of developing eye problems such as:
- Dry eye syndrome – Smokers are twice as likely as non-smokers to develop this condition.
- Cataracts – Those who smoke 15 or more cigarettes a day can have triple the risk that nonsmokers have of developing cataracts.
- Glaucoma – Smoking along with having high blood pressure, diabetes, or cataracts increases your risk of having glaucoma.
- Age-related macular degeneration – Smoking can increase your risk up to four times that of nonsmokers of developing AMD. If you are a nonsmoker living with a smoker, your risk of developing AMD doubles.
- Diabetic retinopathy – If you have diabetes, you are already at risk for developing diabetic retinopathy. Smoking can also make it more difficult to manage your diabetes. However, if you don’t have diabetes, smoking can increase your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and complications like retinopathy, kidney disease, heart disease, stroke, and other serious conditions.
Reduce Your Risks
Quitting smoking is the best way to reduce the risks it causes to your eyesight. Developing healthier habits like staying active, keeping your cholesterol and blood pressure under control, and eating a healthy diet can help mitigate some of your risks.
If you must smoke, it is important to have a comprehensive eye exam every year. This exam can help detect signs of smoking-related eye problems. Early detection can help save your vision or slow the progression of some eye diseases. Call Valley Eyecare Center at (602) 955-2700 or request an appointment online.