Smoking and Eye Health
While it’s no secret that smoking can adversely impact your health in a number of ways, many people don’t realize that your vision is included in that package. There are a number of ways that smoking and eye health are related, and eye cancer is just one of them. Keeping your eyes healthy is essential to maintaining your quality of life, and the first step towards that is understanding what smoke damage can do to your eyes.
Eye Conditions Related to Smoking
A number of eye diseases are linked to smoking, but perhaps the most common and widely known are cataracts and macular degeneration. Smokers are twice as likely as non-smokers to develop cataracts, and heavy smoking as much as triples the risk in some cases. The numbers are similar in the case of macular degeneration, which studies have found is two to four times more likely to develop in a smoker as in a non-smoker.
Both of these conditions lead to vision loss, and while cataract surgery can restore that vision in most cases, there is no cure for macular degeneration. Some treatments can slow the progression of the disease, however, quitting smoking is a positive step to take as well. Some other conditions that add to the link between smoking and eye health include:
- Dry eyes
- Lazy eye
- Optic nerve damage
Smoking and Diabetes
Another smoking-related health issue is diabetes, as smokers are as much as twice as likely to develop the disease as non-smokers. Diabetes brings with it a number of medical issues and complications, including vision loss due to diabetic retinopathy. This condition is progressive and irreversible, and smoking can contribute both to the development of diabetic retinopathy and to the speed of its progression.
Limiting Smoke Damage to Eyes
The best way to limit smoke damage to eyes is to stop smoking altogether. Even cutting back can have a positive benefit, as most of the conditions discussed above become progressively more likely to develop or get worse the more you smoke. Having your eyes checked regularly by a professional optometrist is another good way to ensure you catch any potential issues early.
Schedule an Appointment with Our Optometrist Today
If you would like to learn more about the link between smoking and eye health and the steps you can take to protect your vision, call our offices today at (214) 252-1800.