I doubt there’s an article written that says that smoking is good for you….and this isn’t one either. But many patients are not aware of the link between smoking and vision loss, as well as other eye issues. If you or someone you love needs one more reason to quit smoking, then this article may help you out. Starting from the outside of the eye and working back, here are some of negative effects of smoking when it comes to your vision.
Smoke is drying agent. It also discolors the skin. The smoke from cigarettes dries the skin around the eyelids making them more wrinkled. The smoke can also turn the skin of the face and around the eyes more yellow or grayish. Just not a good look.
The cornea is the clear portion on the front of the eye. This is where contact lenses are worn. Since the smoke dries up the tear film, it’s very common to experience symptoms of dry eye syndrome. Some of the problems are listed below:
- Gritty or sandy feeling
- Chronic redness
- Excessive tearing. This is often how the eye responds to dry irritation. The emotional tear gland turns on the eye actually tears up.
- Difficulty in wearing contact lenses
Cataract is a clouding of the lens of the eye. Free radical can bring on this clouding. Since smoking reduces the presence of anti-oxidants which prevent damage from free radicals, the risk of cataract is greatly increased. Several years ago, a Harvard Medical School study determined that as many as 20 percent of all cataract is the result of smoking.
The same pesky free radicals also cause damage in the retina. The center of the retina where everything focuses can be damaged by free radicals and result in macular degeneration. This condition can lead to the permanent loss of central vision. To complicate matters, smoking reduces blood flow in the smallest vessels of the body, the capillaries. This results in poor circulation and less oxygen delivery to the macula which depends on small blood vessels for survival.
So, there you have it! A virtual laundry list of additional reasons to stop smoking.