Cigarette Smoking Eye Damage Resembles Early-Stage Glaucoma

BAD EFFECTS OF SMOKING ON YOUR EYES

We all know that smoking is bad for one’s health. Smoking cigarettes causes a host of problems, from premature signs of aging (including wrinkles and dry, dull skin) to serious medical conditions, including lung cancer and emphysema, a form of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

However, did you know that smoking can affect the health of your eyes, too? Here, the team at King LASIK gives smokers several more reasons to quit smoking today.

Eye Conditions That Smokers Are at Higher Risk For

Compared to nonsmokers, smokers are at a significantly higher risk of developing a cataract, a progressive clouding of the eye’s crystalline lens, which causes blurred vision and eventually requires surgical removal. In fact, smokers double their risk for cataracts.

Smokers also have a three-fold increase in their risk for developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD affects the center of the retina (which is responsible for central vision), causing “blind spots” that can severely impede central vision. AMD is the foremost cause of permanent vision loss in individuals in the United States who are 65-plus years old.

There are a host of other eye conditions that smoking increases the risk of, including diabetic retinopathy and dry eyes, among others.

Smoking Linked to Glaucoma Symptoms

In addition, a recent study has shown that smoking causes eye damage that resembles early-stage glaucoma.

Glaucoma is characterized by increased intraocular pressure (pressure in the eye), which pushes on the optic nerve (which is responsible for relaying nerve impulses from the eye to the brain, allowing the brain to translate the impulses into the images we see) and can eventually cause blindness.

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According to the researchers, smoking affects the retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL), which is responsible for collecting visual signals from photoreceptors and ganglion cells in the eye and relaying the signals to the optic nerve.

Smokers who participated in the study had a mean thickness of the RNFL that was substantially thinner than that of the nonsmokers. This thinning of the RNFL is associated with several eye diseases, including early-stage glaucoma.

Evaluate Your Eye Health

One of the best things you can do for your eye health and your overall health is to quit smoking today. Even if you have been smoking for a long time, quitting now will have a positive effect on your health, especially as time goes on.

If you are or were a smoker and need to have your eye health evaluated, do not hesitate to contact King LASIK. Our ophthalmologists can assess your eye health and recommend appropriate treatment options for every eye disease, including glaucoma, AMD, dry eyes and more.

To schedule a complimentary assessment of your eye health, please contact King LASIK by calling (877) 551-2020.