Smoking can affect the health of the eyes as well as all other parts of the body. In the case of the eyes, the damage caused by smoking ranges from a variety of conjunctivitis to complete blindness. Here is one more reason to give up tobacco, which has become the number one cause of death in the world.
The harmful effects of tobacco on the respiratory system and the cardiovascular system are well known. However, many people are unaware that smoking can cause permanent damage to the eyes. It is estimated that only one in five smokers is aware of this risk.
It is believed that smokers are twice as likely to lose their sight as non-smokers. This problem is mainly due to tobacco smoke. Tobacco contains toxic substances that initially cause irritation but later permanently damage the eyeball. Smoking can even affect the eyes of passive smokers.
How can smoking affect the eyes?
Smoking can affect the eyes in many different ways and to varying degrees. This depends on many factors, such as the amount of tobacco consumed each day, how long the habit has lasted, genetics, general health, and so on.
Common diseases caused by cigarettes, cigars and pipes are as follows:
- Dry eye syndrome. This is manifested by itching and roughness as the eyelid moves over the eye. It is due to an imbalance of natural tears. The eye turns red and vision is blurred; in the long run it can lead to corneal scarring.
- Cataract. Cataracts are the opacity of the lens of the eye that blurs vision. This problem can only be corrected by surgery.
- Diabetic retinopathy. In diabetics, smoking can damage retinal blood vessels. This causes blurred vision and inaccuracy, which can eventually lead to blindness.
- Depression of the fundus. Smokers are three times more likely to develop this disease than non-smokers. It impairs central vision and the ability to see fine detail. It is treatable, but not a cure.
- Optic neuropathy. This is a sudden loss of vision due to a blockage in the blood flow to the eye. It can lead to permanent blindness.
- Uveitis. This disease affects the body of the iris and eye and is characterized by redness, vision problems and pain in the eyes.
Symptoms of the condition
Smokers do not always notice eye disease, in part because some of these diseases do not cause symptoms in the early stages of the disease. Therefore, it is best to have regular eye examinations.
You should check your eye health if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- Blurred vision
- Blurred point in the middle of the field of view
- You need more light to read
- You will see the waves as straight lines
- Problems with face recognition
- Itching and normal redness in the eyes
- Difficulty recognizing details in images
Smoking during pregnancy
Smoking during pregnancy poses a high risk to the baby’s health. In addition to many known dangers, smoking can also affect a child’s eyes in many ways.
Smoking increases the risk of preterm birth. This, in turn, can lead to a serious eye problem called “premature retinopathy,” which in some cases causes complete blindness.
Mothers who smoke during pregnancy are also five times more likely to have children who suffer from bacterial meningitis in childhood. This disease often leads to serious vision problems and eye infections.
It should be noted that these risks apply not only to women who smoke but also to women who are exposed to tobacco smoke during pregnancy. A pregnant woman should not smoke or expose herself to tobacco smoke.
If smoking can affect the eyes, what can we do?
The best option is to quit smoking. As difficult as it may seem, thousands of people around the world manage to do it every day. The best way to do that is to go to a doctor and ask for help in getting rid of the harmful way. There are medicines and various aids, such as meditation, that make a significant contribution to achieving this goal.
During smoking cessation, you should see your Ophthalmologist regularly. This will help prevent and detect any possible eye diseases that smoking may have caused. It is also good to practice and maintain a diet rich in green leafy vegetables and fish.