Smoking has damaging affects every organ in your body, including your eyes. While many people know that smoking can cause heart disease and cancer, the various sight-threatening vision and eye problems that can be caused by smoking are not as well-known.
From cataracts to diabetic retinopathy, smoking causes a variety of eye conditions that can result in damaged sight or blindness.
Vision Problems Caused by Smoking
Cataracts- This condition is a clouding of your natural lens and is the leading cause of blindness. If you smoke, you are at a higher risk of developing cataracts. Studies showing that smokers double their chance of forming cataracts with the risk increasing the more they smoke.
Macular Degeneration- Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a condition that affects the retina. This is the part of the eye that is responsible for the sharp, central vision that you use for tasks such as driving or reading. This condition causes blind spots in your vision and is a leading cause of permanent vision loss.
If you are a smoker, you can have a three-fold increase in your risk of developing macular degeneration when compared to a non-smoker.
Uveitis- This condition causes inflammation in the middle layer of the eye known as the uvea. This condition harms the iris and retina, which can lead to other vision complications such as glaucoma or a detached retina. Smoking has been linked to this condition and makes you twice as likely to develop uveitis.
Diabetic Retinopathy- This condition damages the blood vessels in your retina and can result in loss of vision. This condition is caused by type 1 or type 2 diabetes, and smoking can double your risk of developing diabetes.
Dry Eye- When you don’t have enough tear on the surface of your eye, this is known as dry eye syndrome. Tears are needed to keep your eyes healthy and lubricated; without enough tears, you can suffer from redness, itchiness, and even watery eyes. Smokers can irritate their eyes with the tobacco smoke and can make their dry eye worse.
Schedule a Comprehensive Eye Exam Today
At Dittman Eyecare, your vision and eye health are our number one priority. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of these eye conditions or if you are a current or former smoker, it is essential to schedule an appointment for an eye exam to help identify these conditions and treat them before they can result in vision loss.