Why Does Smoke Hurt Your Eyes?

November 13, 2019 11:56 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

There are numerous health risks associated with smoking, from heart disease and cancer risks to dental deterioration and rapid skin aging. On top of all of those well-known side effects, smoking can also negatively affect eye health in several ways. If you or a loved one smokes, it’s important to understand the associated risks to ensure the best long-term health outcomes possible, and schedule an appointment with an eye doctor in Lancaster, OH if you have any concerns.

How smoking affects eye health

Numerous studies have linked smoking to eye diseases and poor eye health. Smoking can cause many different issues for your eyes, including:

  • Macular degeneration: Macular degeneration is a retinal disease that causes blind spots to develop in a patient’s vision. This disease usually develops in people as they age, and it can develop in anyone, regardless of health factors. However, smokers are three times more likely to suffer from macular degeneration compared to non-smokers.
  • Diabetic retinopathy: As the name indicates, diabetic retinopathy affects patients who have diabetes. This disease damages the blood vessels in the eyes, and can cause vision loss in severe cases. Studies show that smokers are about twice as likely to develop diabetes than patients who don’t smoke, and that puts smokers at a much greater risk of developing diabetic retinopathy.
  • Cataracts: Cataracts are very common in people with all kinds of health backgrounds, and they are one of the leading causes of blindness around the world. While anyone can develop cataracts, especially as they age, people who smoke are at a much greater risk of cataract development. In fact, people who smoke are about twice as likely to develop cataracts than people who don’t.
  • Uveitis: Uveitis is a type of inflammation in the middle layer of the eye that can cause severe damage to the eyes. If left untreated, uveitis can lead to total vision loss. This inflammation affects many of the most important parts of the eye, including the iris and the retina. Studies indicate that smokers are about twice as likely to develop uveitis than people who don’t smoke.
  • Dry eyes: Tobacco smoke can irritate and dry out eyes, causing itchiness and redness. Not only does tobacco smoke cause irritation for smokers, it can also cause problems for people who spend time around them. Secondhand smoke is a known irritant that has a number of negative health outcomes, including dry eyes.
  • Infant eye diseases: Smoking during pregnancy can inhibit eye development in infants. Infants who are exposed to tobacco smoke in utero are often born with underdeveloped ocular nerves, which contributes to eye issues like infant blindness.

Visit an eye doctor in Lancaster, OH

If you’re concerned about your eye health, schedule a consultation with an eye doctor in Lancaster, OH at Price Family Eye Care Professionals LLC. For decades, we have been proud to serve patients of all different ages, backgrounds and health histories with high-quality eye care services. We can provide you with a customized consultation and eye exam to assess the condition of your eyes and recommend treatments to improve your eye health. Call our office today to schedule an introductory appointment.

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