It’s no secret that smoking is damaging to your health, but did you know that smoking can also be damaging to your vision as well?
Smokers have a higher risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD)—the leading cause of vision loss in people over the age of 60. AMD gradually destroys the sharp, central vision that we use to see objects clearly and in fine detail. Though there are many risk factors for AMD, such as age and family history, smokers are four times as likely to develop age-related macular degeneration in their lifetime.
Smoking as also been linked to early formation of cataracts—a clouding of the natural lens in the eye—compared to their non-smoking counterparts. Smoking reduces the amount of antioxidants in your eyes which can contribute to the early onset of cataracts. If you’ve been following our tips to maintaining your healthy vision, you know the importance of eating an antioxidant-rich diet for your overall eye health!
If you already suffer from dry eye and are also a smoker, you are adding insult to injury. Dry eye symptoms such as redness, grittiness, foreign body sensation and blurry vision are exacerbated by smoking and second-hand smoke. Though there are many treatments for people who suffer from dry eye syndrome, if you are a smoker, the first step you should take is to cut back or quit completely to alleviate your red, irritated eyes.
Smoking contributes to hardening of the arteries which can cause vascular disease and a resulting artery or vein occlusion in the retina (the back of the eye) can lead to irreversible vision loss or blindness. Decrease in blood flow throughout the body when someone smokes can contribute to damage to the optic nerve--the nerve fibers that carry visual information from the eyes to the brain, allowing us to "see".
Need we say more about the benefits of kicking the habit?
Though it may be difficult to quit, the reward of continuing your good healthy vision is worth it! Don’t let your good vision go up in smoke!
Dr Mulqueeny is friendly yet very professional. He cares about his patients and will take the time to talk and answer any questions. I would tell anyone to go see him.