Posted by: Florida Eye Microsurgical Institute in Eye Health

breaking the habit

Our eyesight is one of our most treasured senses. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 34.1 million adults in the United States currently smoke cigarettes. Smoking cigarettes does increase your risk of developing heart disease, stroke, and cancer, but did you know that smoking can also harm your eye health and vision?

Your risk for eye diseases increases when you continue to indulge in this habit. The best thing to do for your eye health and your overall health is to avoid nicotine altogether.

Need more convincing? Here are a few eye problems that are made worse by smoking:

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
This disease happens when a part of the retina is damaged. Studies show that smokers and ex-smokers are more likely to get AMD than people who have never smoked.

If you smoke, you are at increased risk of getting cataracts. A cataract is the clouding of your eye’s naturally clear lens. It causes blurry vision and makes colors look dull, faded, or yellowish. Cataracts are removed with surgery.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Smokers who also have diabetes risk getting diabetic Retinopathy. Diabetic Retinopathy is when blood vessels in the eye are damaged. It causes blurry or distorted vision and possibly blindness. Treatment includes medication or surgery.

Dry Eye

This is when your eyes do not produce enough tears. Smoking with dry eyes will make your eyes more likely to feel scratchy, sting, burn, or red.

Smoking can also lead to a disease that affects part of the eye called the uvea. This is the middle layer of the eye wall. This disease causes red eye, pain, and vision problems.

Ready to Quit?
Discussing these eye conditions can sound unnerving. However, there is good news that quitting smoking at any age and anytime is the RIGHT time to reduce your risk significantly. Discuss options to stop smoking with your primary care doctor, and check out the American Cancer Society, which has several resources to help you.

Breaking the habit of smoking and avoiding second-hand smoke is the best investment you can make in your long-term eye health.

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References: American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Optometric Association. This blog provides information and discussion about eye health and related subjects. The content provided within this blog and any linked materials are not intended and should not be considered medical advice. If the reader or any person has a medical concern, they should consult with an appropriately licensed physician.

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