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Smoking And Your Vision

We’ve all heard and seen the pictures that illustrate just how BAD smoking is for people. Many of us even know of someone who has battled with illness as a result of smoking! So if smoking is so bad, why do so many people still do it? If the list of common known reasons, why smoking is bad isn’t enough, we are going to try and bring attention to one more in our blog post this week. Smoking is also harmful on eye health!

Your Body And Smoking

Smoking is the single most preventable cause of disease and premature death. It effects nearly every organ in the human body. This also includes your eyes!

The results of smoking effects the body in many ways. Many diseases develop, as a result of smoking. Some of these diseases can be fatal and are all too familiar. Medical problems such as heart disease and different types of cancer are the more commonly well known problems.

Here are a few of the effects of smoking on your eyes and why you should kick the habit.

Smoking And Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is a loss of your central vision. This can happen both slowly and quickly over a period of time. It occurs when the small central portion of the macula, starts to deteriorate. The macula is a small area in the retina where the light sensitive tissue lines the back of the eye. This part of the retina is responsible for your central vision.  It allows you to see fine details clearly. Macular degeneration causes blind spots to central vision.

Being a smoker puts you at an increased risk of ARMD (age related macular degeneration). If you are a smoker you are 2 – 3 times more likely to develop ARMD than people who have never smoked. When smokers quit, the risk of ARMD starts to decrease. Twenty years after stopping, the risk of developing ARMD is similar to that of someone who has never smoked.

Studies show that ARMD is the leading cause of vision loss in Canada. There are about 1.4 million Canadians living with ARMD. These statistics are bad news… especially if you’re a smoker. Because smoking is the biggest controllable risk factor, you can significantly reduce your risk of developing ARMD if you quit smoking.


What are cataracts? A cataract is the clouding over of the crystalline lens inside the eye.

Smokers are at an increased risk of developing cataracts compared to non smokers. Some studies show that if you smoke, you double our chances of developing cataracts.

Dry Eyes

Dry eye syndrome is the insufficient tears n the eyes’s surface. Tears are needed to keep the eyes moist and healthy. People with dry eyes often experience symptoms of red eyes, itchiness, or a feeling like something is in the eyes. Sometimes they will experience watery eyes as also.

We all know that tobacco smoke is an irritant and worsens dry eyes. This is true for non smokers as well. Some studies have shown that if you smoke you are twice as likely to experience symptoms of dry eyes.

These are only a few of the ocular complications that can result from smoking. The good news is that if you stop, you can cut your risks of these eye complications and problems.

Article Written By: Karen McAulay


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