Smoking is deleterious for health, and indeed, smoking kills. It affects every single organ of your body, and it is known fact that smoking increases risks for eye diseases as well.
While most of us are well aware of how cigarette smoking can cause potentially fatal diseases such as heart disease and cancer, its impact on vision and eye health is less well-known.
Smoking increases the risk for which eye diseases?
Smoking affects your vision and has been associated with several sight threatening eye diseases. The duration and the number of cigarettes a day, all impact the risk for eye diseases, just as is true for other smoking g related diseases.
Smoking is known to increase the risk of the following eye diseases:
Cataract: Clouding of the natural lens of the eye leads to a decrease in vision which is painless and progressive. This is called cataract, and is known to be an inevitable part of ageing. Smoking increases the risk of cataract formation
, and also the rate of its progression. For any given age group, the incidence of cataract is much higher than in non-smokers.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The more you smoke, the higher your risk of AMD. AMD affects the center of the retina, called the macula, which is responsible for central vision needed for everyday tasks such as reading. Age related macular degeneration is a potentially blinding condition which is an important cause of irreversible blindness, worldwide. Smokers have been reported to have a three-fold increase in the risk of developing AMD compared with people who have never smoked, and this risk is even higher in women.
Uveitis: People who smoke are twice as likely as nonsmokers to develop uveitis, which is an inflammation of the intermediate layers of the eye. It is a serious condition which affects the uvea (the brown or blue iris is a part of the uvea), and can be a recurrent problem.
Diabetic retinopathy: Diabetic retinopathy is yet another serious condition affecting the retina of the eye due to uncontrolled blood sugars. The blood vessels of the retina become fragile and tend to bleed and leak protein and fluid. This can lead to a loss of vision. Smokers are at a greater risk for developing diabetic retinopathy, in comparison to non-smokers.
Dry eye: Smoking worsens the signs and symptoms of dry eyes and eye allergies. Dry eyes are caused by a deficiency of tears on the eye's surface, and smoking leads to aggravation of symptoms like redness, itching and watering and "foreign body" sensation.
Read More: (Dry Eyes Tips)
Does smoking during pregnancy increase risk of eye diseases in infants?
Smoke during pregnancy results in several problems including premature babies, low birth weight babies. These babies are also at a much greater risk of a potentially blinding disease called retinopathy of prematurity.