Smoking can cause vision loss. Here are some healthy tips to protect the eyes | Health


Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the world, as tobacco consumption leads to more than 8 million deaths worldwide and it is estimated that almost 600,000 of them are passive smokers. While many of us are aware that smoking can lead to serious illnesses like respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, and cancer, it can also be just as harmful to the eyes.

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr. Ashutosh Patil, Director and Chief Consultant of EMERALD Eye Hospital & Retina Center, Pune, Pune revealed, “Cigarette smoke releases toxins in the body which circulate in the blood and affect different organs, including the eyes. Smoking greatly increases the risk of developing serious eye conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic retinopathy, which can ultimately lead to vision loss if proper precautions are not taken. not taken in time. In addition, cigarette smoke can cause bags under the eyes and eyelid disorders, such as inflammation and irritation.

Types of Eye Disorders Caused by Smoking

Smokers often don’t understand that cigarette smoke can damage crucial parts of the eyes like the lens, retina and macula, all of which are important for maintaining healthy vision. Dr. Ashutosh Patil has listed some of the major eye disorders caused by smoking:

1. Cataracts – Cataracts can significantly increase the risk of vision loss. The condition occurs when the naturally transparent lens of the eyes becomes cloudy, leading to sensitivity to light and blurred vision. Smoking can increase the percentage of free radicals in the eyes. Free radicals can damage eye proteins and lipids and cause deposits to form on the lens, causing cataracts to develop.

2. Age-Related Macular Degeneration – Central vision is impaired by this condition, making it impossible or difficult to drive, read, and even recognize colors and faces. When left untreated, the disease can progress to blindness and permanent vision loss. Research has also found that smokers tend to have low levels of lutein and zeaxanthin which protect the macula from UV rays, another important risk factor for age-related macular degeneration.

3. Diabetic Retinopathy – Smoking can increase the risk of developing diabetes by up to 40% and possibly increase the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. Diabetes can damage the blood vessels in the retina. As a result, blood vessels leak fluid and blood into the eyes, causing total or partial blindness.

4. Dry eyes – This condition occurs when adequate tears are not produced by the eyes. Cigarette smoke can also cause eye irritation and dryness.

People who are at higher risk of developing eye conditions from smoking

According to Dr. Ashutosh Patil, certain groups are particularly at risk of developing eye disease from smoking, including:

1. Pregnant women – Smoking during pregnancy can increase the risk of retinopathy in unborn babies. This disorder occurs when the blood vessels in the baby’s retina are not fully developed, which can lead to retinal detachment and, in some cases, even blindness.

2. Diabetics – People with diabetes who smoke are at higher risk of developing diseases like diabetic retinopathy.

3. Children – A study has found that children can develop smoke-induced eye conditions at a very young age. Cigarette smoke can lead to thinning of the choroid, which can put their eye health at risk.

Tips to protect the eyes:

Quitting smoking is obviously one of the best ways to ensure good eye health. However, in addition to quitting smoking, Dr. Ashutosh Patil has suggested some important things one can do to protect the eyes, such as:

● Wear eyeglasses or sunglasses when you go out to protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays

● Blink frequently to prevent it from becoming dry or irritated

● Maintain good eye hygiene

●Always keep blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol under control

● Rest your eyes, especially during eye-straining activities like using screens, reading, etc.

● Opt for routine examinations with an ophthalmologist

It’s never too late to quit smoking. It is always important to remember that quitting smoking can not only help maintain overall health, but eye health as well.


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