Smoking harms nearly every organ in your body, including your eyes. It is the most significant preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States. If you smoke, you have a higher risk of developing several eye diseases.
Cataracts are a clouding of the lens in your eye, and the leading cause of blindness in the world. Smokers have double the chance of forming cataracts compared to non-smokers.
Macular degeneration is the deterioration of the macula in your eye, which impacts central vision. If you smoke, you are three times more likely to develop macular degeneration. Consequently, female smokers over age 80 are 5.5 times more likely than nonsmokers of the same age.
Uveitis is the inflammation of the eyes middle layer called the uvea. As a result, it harms the iris, retina, and can eventually result in blindness. Smokers have 2.2 times greater risk of developing uveitis.
Those who smoke and have diabetes have increased their risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy damages the blood vessels in the retina and can result in vision loss. Smoking double the risk of developing diabetes, therefore, increasing your risk for diabetic retinopathy and other diabetic eye diseases.
Dry eye is when you do not have enough tears on the eyes surface, causing itchy and red eyes. Smoke is considered an eye irritant, consequently worsening dry eye symptoms for many. Therefore, those who smoke are twice as likely to experience dry eye. Consequently, individuals who experience second-hand smoke are more likely to suffer from dry eye as well.
Infant Eye Disease
Smoking during pregnancy transmits toxins to the placenta and can harm the unborn child. As a result, smoking increases the chance of many fetal and infant eye disorders including:
-underdeveloped optic nerve
-retinopathy of prematurity
The best way to decrease your risk for developing these eye diseases is to quit smoking. It is never too late, at any age you can reduce your risk of developing these sight-threatening eye conditions. Contact our office to discuss the impact of smoking on your vision.
*All statistics are from https://www.allaboutvision.com/smoking/