World No Tobacco Day: Quit smoking for healthy eyes.
Cigarette smoke contains toxic substances that enter the body and cause harmful effects on various organs including the eyes.
Smokers don’t realize that cigarette smoke can damage important eye structures including the lens, retina, and macula, all of which are essential for healthy vision.
Smoking not only poses significant risks to overall health, but can also cause extensive damage to the eyes. In addition to quitting smoking, there are several important steps you can take to protect your eyes from damage.
Cigarette smoke contains toxic substances that enter the body and cause harmful effects on various organs including the eyes. Smoking increases the risk of serious eye conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic retinopathy. If left untreated, these conditions can lead to vision loss. Smoking can also contribute to eyelid problems such as puffiness, irritation and puffiness under the eyes.
Smokers often don’t realize that cigarette smoke can damage important structures in the eye, including the lens, retina, and macula, all of which are essential for maintaining healthy vision. Dr. Ajay Sharma, Chief Medical Director, IQ shared some of the major eye conditions caused by smoking:
Cataracts greatly increase the likelihood of visual loss. It develops when the normally clear lens of the eye becomes cloudy, causing light sensitivity and blurred vision. Free radicals are more abundant in the eyes when you smoke. Free radicals can damage proteins and lipids in the eye, causing deposits on the lens of the eye and the development of cataracts.
- Age-related macular degeneration
With this condition, central vision is compromised, making it impossible or difficult to drive, read, and even recognize colors and faces. If the disease is not addressed, blindness and permanent vision loss can occur. Another important risk factor for age-related macular degeneration is the tendency of smokers to have low levels of lutein and zeaxanthin, which protect the macula from UV exposure.
- Diabetic retinopathy
Smoking increases the chance of developing diabetes by 40 percent, which in turn increases the risk of diabetic retinopathy. Diabetes has the potential to damage the blood vessels of the retina. Because of this, fluid and blood leak from the blood vessels into the eyes, which can result in complete or partial blindness.
- Dry eyes
This disease occurs when the eyes fail to produce enough tears. Smoking can aggravate existing eye irritation and dryness.
Smokers are more likely to develop eye diseases.
Dr. Sharma explains how smoking increases the risk of several eye diseases:
- A woman of hope
Smoking during pregnancy can increase the chance that the newborn will develop retinopathy. This problem occurs when the blood vessels in the baby’s retina don’t form fully, which can lead to retinal detachment and, in some cases, blindness.
- Diabetic patients
Smokers with diabetes are more likely to develop other diseases, including diabetic retinopathy.
A study shows that young people may experience eye problems related to smoke early. Cigarette smoke can thin the choroid, putting their eye health at risk.
Instructions for eye protection:
Of course, one of the best strategies to ensure good eye health is to stop smoking. However, Dr. Sharma points out some important steps to take to protect your eyes in addition to stopping smoking, such as:
- Putting on sunglasses or goggles before leaving the house to protect the eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays
- Blink your eyes often to prevent them from drying out or swelling.
- Keep your eyes clean
- Always maintain healthy cholesterol, blood pressure, and glucose levels
- Give your eyes a break, especially if you’re doing something that puts strain on them, like reading or using a screen.
There is never a bad time to quit smoking. It is always important to keep in mind that quitting smoking is beneficial for your eyes as well as your general health.