Warning: Cigarettes Are Hazardous to Your Eye Health

By Jeffrey Schultz on November 08, 2016

A cigarette burning at the endAt Lifetime Eye Care, we emphasize to our patients that the health of their eyes is influenced by their overall health to a very large degree. In order to take at least some control of your own eye care, you must be willing to lead as healthy a lifestyle as possible, eating right and exercising routinely. Poor choices that could affect vital organs such as your heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys are just as likely to affect your eyes and put your precious vision at risk.

Whether you are currently a smoker or someone you love smokes, you surely know that cigarette smoking is hazardous to your health. It causes indisputable harm to virtually every part of your body, from your delicate facial skin to the marrow in your bones. Your eyes are no exception to this. While smokers certainly have the right to smoke if they wish, they should be made fully aware of all of the effects it can have on their health. A smoker who may be willing to risk heart disease, stroke, and a variety of cancers may be less willing to risk vision loss.

It is for this reason that optometrist Jeffrey E. Schultz discusses the relationship between cigarettes and eye diseases during consultations at his Cleveland, OH practice when he meets with active smokers. He wants smokers to understand fully what is at stake if they continue their habits. He understands that quitting can be extraordinarily difficult; however, life without seeing clearly - or at all - can be extraordinarily difficult, too. His purpose is not to judge smokers for their lifestyle choices, but rather to provide them with the facts they need to make more informed choices.

If you are currently a smoker, we encourage you to get the help you need to quit. Your eyes will thank you for it.

The Connection between Cigarettes and Specific Eye Diseases

To date, glaucoma is the only major eye disease that has yet to be linked to smoking in any significant way. Otherwise, smokers are at increased risk for all other major eye diseases, including:

  • Cataracts: Smokers are far more likely to develop cataracts before the age of 60, the age at which most people become naturally at risk to developing cataracts. Indeed, smokers are twice as likely to develop premature cataracts as the general population.
  • Dry eye syndrome: Smokers are at risk of dry eye syndrome, which is why they are often not permitted to undergo LASIK unless they are willing to quit first. Loved ones of smokers often develop dry eye as a result of being exposed to second-hand smoke.
  • Macular degeneration: Smokers are three times more likely than non-smokers to develop macular degeneration, a condition in which the central field of vision gradually deteriorates.
  • Uveitis: This inflammation of the middle layer of the eye is twice as likely to occur in a smoker as in a non-smoker.

Learn More about Cigarettes and Eye Diseases

To learn more about the connection between cigarettes and eye diseases, please contact Lifetime Eye Care today.

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