Smoking increases your risk of developing many diseases. Cigarettes introduce toxins in your body that are harmful not only to your lung tissues, but also to many other parts of your body, including your eyes. In today’s post, Shady Grove Eye and Vision Care, your provider of laser eye surgery and other quality eye care services, explains how cigarette smoking affects your visual health.
Cataracts occur when protein in your eyes start to disintegrate, accumulating on your lenses. Cataracts prevent light from reaching your eyes, which can cause your eyesight to become cloudy. You may feel like you’re looking through a dusty windshield. While this condition is usually associated with older age, smokers are 50% more likely to develop the condition than non-smokers.
Macular degeneration occurs when the macula begins to degenerate, compromising your central vision. While this condition typically develops later in life, your eye specialist explains that smoking may speed up its development. In fact, research has shown that smokers are up to four times more likely to develop this condition than non-smokers.
Dry Eye Syndrome
Smoking contains substances that may irritate your eyes, putting you at risk of developing dry eyes. Cigarettes may also change the consistency of your tears, causing them to evaporate too quickly. To maintain your visual comfort, it’s best to stop smoking. We also advise avoiding second- and third-hand smoke.
Hypertensive and Diabetic Retinopathies
High blood sugar content and increased blood pressure may compress your blood vessels. When this happens, you may have compromised blood circulation that reduces the amount of nutrients and oxygen delivered to your eyes. Your optometrist explains that cigarettes may worsen this problem since they contain potent vasoconstricting properties. As a result, blood flow to your retina is further limited.
For more information about the effects of smoking on your eyesight, call us at (301) 859-4060 or fill out our form. We serve Alexandria, VA, and Potomac and Rockville, MD.