Smoking and vision. Can smoking lead to blindness?

"Eight strong links between smoking and your most depended sense, your sight:

It is widely known that smoking is linked with many health problems and that it is a leading worldwide cause of preventable death. However many of us are unaware that smoking has also been strongly linked to blindness. Actually according to a recent UK study, the incidence of sight loss linked to smoking has been estimated higher than lung cancer and heart disease.



1) Age Macular Degeneration (AMD): This is the leading CAUSE OF BLINDNESS in those who are over 65. Treatment options for AMD are limited. Smoking causes harm to the tissues of the eye and that is the reason that smokers tend to develop AMD earlier than non-smokers. Smoking has further been proven to increase the severity of this disease. 

Stopping smoking can reduce the risk of AMD developing.

2) Primary Open Angle Glaucoma-which is another leading cause of blindness worldwide

3) Diabetes and its complications including changes in the retinal blood vessels which can lead to BLINDNESS. Smoking can truly make diabetes related problems worse.

4) Cataracts- even though cataracts are treatable they continue to be considered as a leading cause of BLINDNESS even in developed countries

5) Grave's Disease- the eye complications related to thyroid disease

6) Uveitis- inflammation inside the eye that can lead to cataract and glaucoma

7) Increase in free radicals which accelerate ageing. As a result the body cannot absorb and utilize the necessary vitamins and minerals from food

8) Dry eyes and contact lens intolerance- with all the relevant symptoms of redness, grittiness and discomfort.

Do remember that of course passive smoking is as harmful as smoking yourself.

If you are a smoker, make sure that you do have a comprehensive eye exam once a year. Eye changes can be dealt with more efficiently if detected earlier.

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