Lungs and heart are not the only essential organs that get compromised by the habit of smoking. With many years of smoking, vision also begins to degenerate, but because blindness isn’t life-threatening, this worrisome fact is often overlooked when putting out statutory warnings against smoking.
There are 4,700 chemicals contained in a stick of cigarette and delicate retinal cells in the eye are exposed to these harmful oxidants when you have the habit. At the same time, smoking reduces antioxidant levels in the body, and interferes with the eyes’ natural self-protective functions.
Here are 9 ways your eyes may be suffering every time you decide to light up a cigarette. This information will probably not get you to quit today, but as with any detrimental habit, there is an information tipping point which finally mobilizes people into action, and it is our intention to increase your awareness level as best we can.
#1: Cigarettes triple the risk of Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), and is one of the leading causes of blindness among people over the age of 65. It is also the biggest `modifiable’ risk factor for AMD. Stopping right now, will help to stop AMD in its tracks or reduce the scope of the damage.
#2: Smoking causes blood vessels to narrow, which not only increases overall blood pressure but also the hinders its optimal supply to the eyes.
#3: Research suggests that people who smoke have reduced levels of the macular pigments lutein and zeaxanthin, which protect the eyes from harmful effects of sunlight.
#4: Smoking brings on the risk of cataracts, by doubling the possibility of changes in the lens, causing cloudy vision.
#5: Primary open-angle glaucoma, a principle cause of blindness, is often ascribed to smoking as a contributing factor.
#6: If you suffer from diabetes, the general impact of increased sugar levels in the body can cause serious and irrevocable vision damage.
#7: Tobacco use doubles the risk of Uveitis – inflammation inside the eyes that can lead to cataracts and glaucoma.
#8: Thyroid-related eye conditions, such as Graves’ Disease, are a grim possibility when smoking is included as one of the supporting factors.
#9: Pregnant women run the risk of giving birth to babies with facial defects like lazy eyes.