Everyone knows that smoking is associated with all kinds of medical conditions like cancer which could lead to death. Regardless of the increased awareness of the negative effects of smoking, a lot of people still continue smoking. However, most people are not aware that smoking has a very negative effect on eye health. This might be just the information you need to get motivation to finally kick this harmful habit and embrace a healthy lifestyle.
Your eyes are a great asset and it is important to make sure that they are well taken care of and you can start by quitting the cigarette. There are lots of cessation techniques that you can take advantage of such as electronic cigarettes, nicotine patches, nicotine gum or lozenges. It is important to make sure that the cessation technique you select suits your individual needs. As you continue smoking, this is what you are doing to your eyes:
- Vision loss
Cigarettes contain tar which is a toxin that encourages collection of radicals in the eyes and damage the retina. As the deposits continue to collect, they will form a thick coat which will lead to retinopathy and other conditions linked to loss of vision. You should note that pregnant women who smoke also expose the unborn child to vision problems like detached retina, glaucoma, lazy eye or even blindness. Unfortunately, a lot of smokers do not realize the severity of the condition until it is too late and irreversible.
- Dry itchy eyes
If you smoke and you have dry itchy eyes, then it is time for you to kick the cigarette to the curb. This is because your body is trying to give you a signal that you need to stop. When the eyes get dry, it means that you are not able to produce enough tears to lubricate them. The itchiness only makes the situation worse because it will lead to excess tearing and burning or stinging of the eyes. As you recover, you can use artificial tears to soothe the irritation, eliminate redness and ease the itch.
The substances in tobacco smoke react with your body and create free radicals that affect the lens of the eye. This results in the thickening of the eye lens leading to reduced vision, double vision, faded color perception and blurring. Studies show that cases of eye cataracts are more common in smokers with some even in their early 20s. Also, the longer and the more you smoke the higher your chances of developing eye cataracts. To restore your eyesight, you might have to undergo a surgical procedure that involves the transplant of a surgical lens.
- Macular degeneration
It affects the small center part of the retina and as a result can lead to blindness. Initially, you will experience a consistent blurring spot in your vision as the cells gradually get damaged. You should note that there are other factors that contribute to macular degeneration such as hypertension and exposure in tanning salons. Just like with cataracts, as your chances increase the longer and the more you continue smoking.
- Thyroid eye disease
Smoking increases the risk of thyroid eye disease which means that if you have been diagnosed with thyroid disease, then you should quit smoking. It causes the swelling and inflammation of muscles and soft tissues around the eyes. As a result, the eyeballs tend to protrude or bulge from the sockets which will make the victim to avoid contact with the world. Your doctor will recommend that you quit smoking immediately and recommend medical or surgical treatment.
- Optic neuropathy
Smoking cigarettes reduces the blood flow all over the body which will lead to damage of the optic nerve. This can lead to irreversible blindness as well as rapid deterioration as you continue smoking. However, this condition can also be caused by brain disease like brain tumors, multiple sclerosis and a brain stroke. You should also note that hereditary issue and injury can also put you at risk of optic neuropathy. In some instances, the vision can get back to normal without treatment, while in other cases steroids may be used to treat it.