Can smoking impact your eyesight?

While lots of medical experts focus on the fact smoking can increase our risk of developing lung cancer, not many people realise how detrimental the habit can be to our eyesight. According to figures from RNIB, a charity supporting blind and partially sighted people, smoking could in fact double an individual’s chances of losing their sight.

There are a number of different eye diseases smoking can lead to, so smokers thinking about kicking the habit may want to do so sooner rather than later if they want to improve the health of their eyes. Read on to hear about some of the problems smokers may be at risk of encountering.

Screen Shot 2013-09-26 at 10.36.39 PM

One of the most common eye conditions, cataracts occur when we age and the lens inside our eyes change and become cloudier, damaging our eyesight and ability to function independently. While smoking doesn’t directly lead to cataracts, if you do smoke then you could increase your chances of developing cataracts even more.

Cataracts are the number one cause of blindness and by cutting down your nicotine intake or quitting the habit completely, your likelihood of suffering them could decrease significantly.
Age-related macular degeneration

Research has concluded that people who smoke are three to four times more likely to develop age-related macular degeneration (AMRD) than non-smokers.

This condition affects a tiny part of the retina at the back of our eyes – the macula – and is characterised by distorted or blurry vision, which over time could cause a blank patch in the centre of your vision. It gets in the way of most everyday activities like watching the television or driving and is one of the leading triggers of blindness.

Besides quitting smoking, one way sufferers of AMRD could make their eyes feel more comfortable is by taking supplements that delay or slow down the progress of the condition. MacuShield is one solution you could try, as it contains three carotenoids with anti-oxidant properties that help protect the macula. Click here to find out more information about the product.

Symptoms of this affliction include inflammation of the uvea – the middle section of the eye. According to various studies of the condition carried out on rats, a chemical found in smoke called endotoxin can trigger acute uveitis.

Other signs indicating a person has uveitis include pain in one or both eyes, blurred vision or sensitivity to light, all of which make everyday life for sufferers uncomfortable. Again, you’re bound to cut your risks of developing uveitis by slashing your nicotine intake.
Thyroid eye disease

Also known as Graves’ disease, this condition is characterised by inflammation and engorgement of the soft tissues surrounding the eyes and is mostly caused when people have an overactive thyroid gland. It can make your eyes puffy and red, while the muscles surrounding them swell, which is guaranteed to have a major impact on your eyesight.

Smokers are far more likely than others to develop thyroid eye disease, so anyone experiencing symptoms of the affliction should see their doctor right away and quit smoking as soon as possible.