Smoking is the largest preventable cause of disease and death in the United States. It is very harmful to your body — affecting every single organ. Most people think of the lungs when it comes to smoking, but it also affects your eyes and eye health. Many eye conditions and diseases can be caused by smoking. The Boston Vision team warns their patients of these side effects of taking part in smoking.
Although it is not commonly known, smoking can cause many problems with the eyes. These problems include:
- Dry Eye: Smoking can cause the eyes to feel scratchy, itch, sting, or burn and look inflamed.
- Cataracts: These are a clouding of your eyes.
- Macular Degeneration: This occurs when the macula is damaged and causes you to lose central vision. Smoking is the #1 modifiable risk factor for ARMD.
- Diabetic Retinopathy: This occurs when blood vessels in the eye become damaged. It causes blurry, distorted vision, or blindness.
- Uveitis: This is a disease of the middle layer of the eyewall. It can become inflamed.
- Optic Nerve Problems: Smoking can lead to problems with the nerve that connects the eye to the brain.
- Grave’s Disease: This affects the body’s thyroid gland, some of the symptoms are bulging eyes and loss of vision.
Not only does smoking affect your health and your eyesight, but it can also affect your baby’s. If you smoke while pregnant, your baby is 5x more likely to develop bacterial meningitis, this can cause eye infections and other problems with the vision.
There are many resources to help you quit smoking. Talk to a Boston Vision team member. There are numerous community organizations that are committed to helping people quit smoking.