We all know that smoking is bad for us – for obvious reasons, too. Time and time again, it has been linked to cancer, among other things. You probably know each and every reason why you should stop smoking, but we have another one that you may not have heard of: Smoking hurts your vision.
That’s right, you may have written off your vision troubles as a natural part of aging, but in reality, your smoking could have been actively contributing to your deteriorating eye health.
You may have noticed that warning images on cigarette packs are becoming more and more graphic as they aim to raise awareness of the dangers of smoking. Well, the next image you may be seeing could be a very sick eyeball with the headline, ‘Smoking causes blindness.’
In the U.S. alone, smoking-related deaths have mounted to 480,000 annually, with a financial cost of $300 billion. Although much information has come to light connecting smoking to other health problems, little has been known about the link between the vision and smoking.
The 50th anniversary Surgeon General’s report titled, The Health Consequences of Smoking: 50 Years in Progress, shares the dangers of smoking, including the associated vision problems. The report stated, “The role of smoking in causing advanced AMD [age-related macular degeneration], which results in loss of vision, is a significant public health concern and a major clinical issue in the United States … because smoking causes both nuclear cataracts and [AMD], it is important for ophthalmologists, optometrists, and other healthcare providers to assess and address the smoking status of their patients.”
There are many resources available to help better educate the public on the dangers of smoking with regards to eye health. For starters, there is the Eye See Tobacco Free brochure, which undertakes to educate the readers on the dangers of smoking and to promote a healthy lifestyle. Individuals can access the American Optometric Association’s website for additional resources and information regarding smoking and eye health.
Although for many individuals, vision loss is a result of aging, smoking can definitely speed up the process. Smoking is a risk factor, yet a modifiable one. Quitting will not only help protect your vision but your overall health as well. If you’re still smoking, we hope that you can now see the dangers this harmful habit can do to your vision and that you now have one more reason to butt out for good.