Smoking is the root cause of a number of ailments. It has been known to affect every single organ of the body; it poses immediate as well as long-term threats to the body of those who smoke. Smoking has been found to be associated with a long list of diseases like heart disease, diabetes and a number of types of cancers, including lung cancer; but apart from these, there is one other problem that smoking poses but people are often unaware of it.
Smoking has been found to be one of the main causes of loss of vision. Smoking has been known to affect every single organ of the body; it poses immediate as well as long-term threats to the body of those who smoke. It has always been linked with life-threatening diseases, but going blind because of it never crosses anyone's mind. The truth is, you need to quit smoking to protect your vision. Being a preventable cause you can save yourself from the trauma of going blind, if only you take the right decision of quitting this habit at the right time.
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A number of people have paid the price for not letting go of this habit and every day so many more pick it up the habit of smoking without realising the grave consequences. The following are the reasons to quit smoking to save your vision.
1. Cataract: If you are a smoker, then you are doubling your chances of suffering from cloudy vision, which at times can even lead to complete blindness if not treated.
2. Macular Degeneration: This is a condition which causes new blind spots and it severely damages the central vision. Smoking increases the risk of age-related macular degeneration up to three times and even increases the severity of the condition. Quitting smoking at any age will help reducing the risk.
3. Uveitis: This is an extremely serious eyes disease that occurs when there is an inflammation in the middle layer of the eyes. There are ample evidences which prove that smokers are more prone to be suffering from this disease than those who do not.
4. Diabetic Retinopathy: In this condition, blood vessels of the retina are severely damaged and can lead to severe vision loss if not treated on time. Here again, smoking almost doubles the risk of disease onset and severity.
5. Glaucoma: If you are a smoker, then it is a must for you to know that you are severely increasing your chances of suffering from this disease sooner or later. Glaucoma is a silent disease and many patients present to the specialist too late.
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6. Dry Eye Syndrome: Tears are essential to keep the eyes sufficiently lubricated. They are vital for maintaining the health of the eyes. The smoke of the tobacco is irritating to the eyes and can aggravate dry eyes to a greater level. You will have to deal with itchiness, redness and discomfort in the eyes. Passive smokers can be affected too, especially if they wear contact lenses.
7. Infant Eyes Disease: If a pregnant woman smokes, she transmits all the harmful toxins to her baby too through the placenta. Strabismus is one of the eye disorders, which an infant can suffer due to prenatal cigarette smoking.
Masters’ degree in Ophthalmology from the Regional Institute of Ophthalmology, Minto Eye Hospital.
Dr. Bhujang is the Founder Chairman and Managing Director of Narayana Nethralaya Eye Hospital, Bangalore.