Lung cancer, heart disease, and COPD are well-known problems caused by smoking, but you might not know that it also has serious effects on your eye health, putting you at risk for vision loss and eye diseases. Deteriorating eyesight makes performing daily activities more difficult and decreases your overall quality of life, so it’s important to take steps to protect your eyes from the harmful effects of smoking.
As providers of comprehensive eye care services to the people of Cincinnati, OH, for more than 100 years, the experienced optometrists at Wing Eyecare share some important information about how smoking contributes to vision problems.
What Effects Does Smoking Have on Your Vision?
Cataracts is a clouding of the eye’s lens, potentially leading to blindness. Although it’s relatively common and usually affects older adults, smoking can increase your chances of developing cataracts. Heavy smoking further increases your risk.
This disease affects the center of the retina, which controls your ability to focus. Blurred and distorted vision is typical, and completely dark “blind spots” can develop. Macular degeneration affects your ability to drive, read, and do other daily tasks. Smoking is the biggest risk factor, so quitting can greatly reduce your risk for this debilitating condition.
Dry Eye Syndrome
If you experience constant redness and itching that’s not relieved by lubricating eye care products, you may have dry eyes. Cigarette smoke causes the irritation that contributes to this problem.
If you smoke, you’re more likely to develop diabetic retinopathy, which results from tobacco’s effects on your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels, leading to diabetes. Diabetes damages the blood vessels in the eye, potentially resulting in loss of vision.
Uveitis is inflammation in the uvea, the middle layer of the eye that includes the iris. Risk for detachment of the retina, glaucoma, and cataracts is common and more than doubled in people who smoke.
Why Quitting Smoking Is Essential for Eye Care
No matter your age or how long you’ve smoked, quitting smoking provides dramatic benefits to your overall health, including eyesight. The sooner you quit, the more your risk decreases for developing these serious eye diseases. In addition, your eyes will start to heal, and some of these vision problems may even begin to reverse.
Smoking-related eye problems are completely preventable by avoiding or quitting smoking. And if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms of eye disease, contact the eye doctors at Wing Eyecare immediately. With their comprehensive eye exams and state-of-the-art equipment, you’ll receive an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan that will help protect your vision and quality of life. To make an appointment, call (888) 274-9464 or visit their website to learn more about their practice.