The Negative Effects of Smoking on Your Vision
The health risks of this popular activity extend to your eyes.
Smoking is bad for you. There was a time when that knowledge was buried, but nowadays, there’s a lot of transparency surrounding the health risks associated with cigarettes and other tobacco products. However, the effects of smoking on our eyes are lesser-known when compared to side effects like lung damage and heart disease. Here are four eye-related conditions that are more likely to manifest if you smoke.
Dry Eye Syndrome
Dry eye syndrome occurs when your eye fails to produce enough tear fluid to remain lubricated. The smoke from tobacco products contains chemicals that irritate our eyes and break down their tear film, causing them to dry out and leading to symptoms like redness, itchiness, and blurry vision. If you already experience dry eye syndrome, then smoking will only exacerbate these symptoms.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
AMD is a disease characterized by a gradual loss of central vision that often leads to blindness. Smokers are up to four times more likely to develop AMD than non-smokers. This is because the chemicals in cigarette smoke diminish the effectiveness of antioxidants and protective substances in our eyes, which makes the chances of developing AMD much higher.
Cataracts are cloudy obstructions on the lens of the eye that result in blurred vision. Smoking can lead to cataracts the same way it can lead to AMD: the breaking down of the eye’s natural proteins and lipids. When this happens, harmful deposits begin to form on the eye’s surface, and these deposits eventually become cataracts.
Uveitis is a type of inflammation of the eye. Although rare, uveitis is more than two times more likely to occur in people who smoke. Not only does tobacco smoke weaken the eye’s defenses, it also causes tissue inflammation due to the toxins within. When this smoke makes contact with the eyes, inflammation of the uvea (i.e., uveitis) becomes all the more likely.
Whether or not you smoke is ultimately your decision, but the dangers of using tobacco products – for your eyes as well as your overall health – cannot be understated. At the very least, keeping up with your annual eye exam will ensure that these and other health issues are identified as soon as possible. To schedule an appointment with us, call 541-262-0597 or schedule online.