The negative health effects associated with smoking are widely known. Cigarettes alone contain many toxic ingredients that can cause serious harm to the organs. Smoking also poses a unique risk to the health of the eyes. People who smoke are at an increased risk of developing vision-threatening eye diseases, including cataracts. The experts at Berks Eye recommend regular eye exams if you are a smoker or were one previously. Continue reading for more information about how smoking can jeopardize your vision.
Age-related Macular Degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a serious condition that can significantly affect central vision. If you smoke, the retinal blood vessels may constrict, which increases your blood pressure and puts you at a greater risk of experiencing permanent vision loss from AMD.
Cataracts are a leading cause of vision loss. A cataract occurs when the eye’s natural lens, which is usually clear, becomes clouded. This leads to obscured vision, sensitivity to light, and trouble seeing at night or in low-light environments. Smoking and the toxins associated with it can ultimately increase the amount of free radicals your eye is exposed to, which can negatively impact proteins in the eye and lead to deposits on the lens of the eye. Antioxidants are helpful at reducing the effects of free radicals, but if you smoke, even consuming an antioxidant-rich diet may be ineffective in removing the threat.
When delicate blood vessels in the eye become swollen, they can sometimes rupture and leak fluid into the retina, causing detachment. Smoking significantly increases bodily inflammation, making swollen vessels more likely.
Dry Eye Syndrome
Dry eye is an eye condition that affects the tears that nourish and protect the cornea. Burning, itchiness, redness, and foreign object sensation are all symptoms of this condition. The harsh chemicals within smoke can irritate the eyes, leading to these bothersome symptoms. Smoking, as well as exposure to smoke secondhand, increases the risk of experiencing dry eye syndrome.
Optic Nerve Issues
The optic nerve links the eyes to the brain. When this connection is damaged, permanent vision loss can follow. Smokers are put at a greater risk for optic nerve issues.
Healthy Vision in Wyomissing
Healthy lifestyle choices can lead to healthy eyes. Smoking can cause a number of eye-related diseases. Even being exposed to secondhand smoke can lead to eye issues. Smokers who quit are taking the first step to the health of their vision, but the damage that smoking causes can endure until it is treated. Berks Eye provides ophthalmic, optometric, and optical services designed to help you maintain or improve your eye health and vision. Contact our office today to schedule an eye exam.