If you think that only your lungs are affected by smoking, think again!
It has been proven that tobacco smoke is extremely bad for your health. With over 4000 toxic compounds like polycyclic hydrocarbons, tar, formaldehyde and other heavy metals, it is well established that smoking causes many health issues like cancer, lung diseases and other physical defects. However, little are known about the harmful effects of smoking to your eyesight. Studies suggest that smoking has a direct link into two of the major leading causes of visual impairment and other eyesight problems.
Below are the top 4 effects of smoking on your vision:
1. Macular Degeneration
Smokers are two to four times more at risk of developing macular degeneration compared to non-smokers. The longer a person smokes, the higher the risk becomes. Macular degeneration is the condition where the macula, the part of the retina that enables you to see finer details, degenerates because of premature aging of cells. Likewise the nicotine together with other toxic chemicals found in cigarette smoke blocks the nerves and blood vessels in your eyes causing blurriness, blind spots, distortion and in worst cases – lost of vision.
There are two ways on how smoking contributes to the development of cataracts or the clouding of the lens of your eyes. First, the toxins found in cigarette smoke create harmful effects on your eyes which later on damages it. Second, smoking lessens the capability of your body to naturally heal the damages in your lens by reducing the levels of enzymes and antioxidants in your body.
But unlike macular degeneration, cataract has a very slow recovery process. Even if you stopped smoking, you cannot right away reduce or lower your risk of developing it. Experts suggest that you submit yourself for a regular eye examination especially if you discover any eye irritation.
3. Dry Eyes
Your tears are not just for crying. Tears contain essential nutrients to keep your eyes moist and clean. When your eyes don’t produce enough tears, most likely you’ll experience dry eyes. The common symptoms of dry eyes are: burning sensation, blurry vision, irritation, gritty feeling as if there is sand in your eyes, and eye fatigue. Dry eyes can be caused by several factors; however, smoking is among the leading causes of dry eyes among smokers. The smoke coming from the cigarettes easily dries the tears in your eyes causing this eye condition. There are several eye drops available in the market that can lessen the symptoms of dry eyes. However, just make sure to seek first the advice of your ophthalmologist for possible contraindication.
4. Optic Nerve Damage
One of the dangers caused by smoking in to your body is nerve damage. Nicotine is a known constrictor. Long time smokers are more at risk of suffering from optic nerve damage, where the nerves in your eyes become congested and may result to partial to complete vision lost. Drinking alcohol and poor diet can aggravate this eye condition. You may want to maintain a healthy diet and do away with excessive drinking and smoking to avoid any visual problems.