Few would argue that smoking is not bad for your health. It’s common knowledge that smoking causes cancer, heart disease, and premature aging. But, less known are the damaging effects smoking can have on your eye sight. Cigarettes are toxic, comprising of substances, such as tar, formaldehyde, heavy metals, hydrocarbons, and carbon monoxide—a cocktail of ingredients bound to inflict harm. Highly addictive, cigarettes deplete the body of oxygen, decrease blood flow, and strip away nutrients. Studies suggest that smoking correlates to an increased risk of macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma among other diseases. Read on to learn why smoking is so bad for your eyes.
Increased Risk of Cataracts
With age cataracts become more common, but smokers have double to triple the risk of developing it. Cataracts develop when your eye’s lens becomes cloudy causing blurry and opaque vision. It’s believed that smoking increases oxidation, which leads to the amplified occurrence of cataracts.
Macular Degeneration Caused by Premature Aging
Similar to cataracts, macular degeneration, or AMD, occurs with age. AMD is the breakdown of center of the retina, which enables you to see fine details. Scientists link AMD to the lack of blood flow to the retina caused by smoking. Smoking makes you up to four times more likely to develop macular degeneration. Plus, second hand smoke can also increase the risk of AMD for loved ones living with you.
Diabetes Related Eye Disease Caused By Smoking
Along with cancer and heart disease, smokers have an increased risk of developing diabetes. Diabetes comes with its own array of eye diseases, including glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. Glaucoma causes the breakdown of the optic nerve, which can lead to loss of vision. Diabetic retinopathy afflicts the blood vessels surrounding the retina. The blood vessels burst or become blocked, which eventually damages your vision.
What You Can Do to Prevent Eye Disease
If you smoke, the best option for your overall health, let alone your eye health, is to quit. Individuals who stopped smoking bettered their odds of avoiding eye diseases and saw improvement in their eye health. Nevertheless, ex-smokers are still at a higher risk than those who never smoked. To improve your odds, a healthy diet rich in vitamins like C, E, and beta carotene is great for eye care. Keeping an active lifestyle and managing your blood pressure and cholesterol will also give you an upper hand against eye diseases.
Want to consult an eye doctor about the best eye care to help prevent disease. Book an appointment with your Valley Eyecare Center eye doctor. Call us at 602-955-2700 or schedule your next session online, today!