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Does Smoking Increase the Risk of Eye Disease?

Dec 29, 2016 @ 01:00 PM — by Dr. Maida
Tagged with: Risk Factors Eye Care

An old man at an eye examThe team at our Jacksonville eye care practice is committed to our patients. We want to make sure that everyone who comes to the practice has excellent vision that lasts as long as possible. It's sometimes easier said than done given genetics and other things that can affect the health and wellness of your eyes.

With that in mind, we want to consider how smoking affects eye health. Knowing how bad smoking can affect your vision sometimes helps people quit for good.

Smoking Can Increase Risk for Multiple Health Problems

It should come as no surprise that smoking is linked to numerous health problems, including heart disease, lung disease, hypertension, and different kinds of cancers. In addition to these general wellness issues, smoking and the use of tobacco products can also increase your risk of developing various eye diseases.

Below are just a few eye problems that are linked to smoking.

Cataracts and Smoking

When cataracts form, they can lead to vision loss of varying degrees. Smokers are twice as likely to develop cataracts later in life than non-smokers. Heavy smokers are three times more likely to develop cataracts.

Glaucoma and Smoking

Glaucoma refers to a type of permanent and irreversible vision loss that's caused by damage to the optic nerve. Smokers are more likely to develop open-angle glaucoma than non-smokers given the heightened blood pressure and other factors.

Macular Degeneration and Smoking

Macular degeneration is a type of age-related vision loss that affects the central portion of the retina. Smoking and increased blood pressure can contribute to the damage of the cells of the retina, making the condition more likely.

Diabetic Retinopathy and Smoking

A symptom of long-term diabetes, diabetic retinopathy can cause vision loss as a result of damaged blood vessels. Smokers are more likely to develop diabetes than non-smokers, and the health problems related to smoking can exacerbate the condition.

Dry Eye Syndrome and Smoking

Dry eye can be annoying and uncomfortable when it occurs. Smoking cigarettes can result in a risk of chronic dry eye, or at least make dry eye a recurring issue.

Eye Infections and Smoking

People who smoke are more prone to infection. This includes issues with gum disease as well as a greater likelihood of eye infections (pink eye) and uveitis.

Lazy Eye in Newborns from Smoking

If a woman smokes or is around secondhand smoke while pregnant, her unborn child will experience an increased risk of multiple health problems, including lazy eye.

Get the Help You Need to Quit for Good

Given all of the ways that smoking can impact your vision, it's of the utmost importance that you quit as soon as possible. This can be easier said than done, but thankfully there are numerous resources available to help make life without tobacco products a reality. We'd be more than happy to direct you to those resources.

Learn More About Your Eye Care Options

For more information about the risks of smoking and how we can help you experience good vision for the years ahead, be sure to contact our team of eye care experts today. Our team will help you see clearly and be healthy.

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