Smoking can cause serious health problems such as lung disease and cancer. In a recent study, researchers have found that heavy smoking may harm your eyes, as well.
Participants in the study included 71 healthy individuals who smoked less than 15 cigarettes in their lives and 63 individuals who smoked more than 20 cigarettes a day. Aged 25 to 45, they had normal or corrected-to-normal vision.
The results of the study showed significant changes in the red-green and blue-yellow color vision of the heavy smokers. Compared to nonsmokers, they also experienced greater difficulty discriminating contrasts and colors.
If you’re a heavy smoker and you have started noticing some changes in your vision, now is the best time to get an eye exam. Eyes on Norbeck, trusted specialists in vision care, shares more information on how smoking can affect your vision.
How Smoking Affects Your Vision
In a university news release, co-author Steven Silverstein, director of research at Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care, explains that cigarette smoke is made up of numerous compounds that are harmful to the health. And based on their study, chronic exposure to these compounds reduces the thickness of the area of the brain responsible for processing vision. This further results in issues related to visual discrimination and overall deficits in visual processing.
Eye Problems Made Worse by Smoking
Smoking increases the risk of eye diseases such as dry eye, cataracts, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, uveitis and Graves’ disease. When left untreated, some of these diseases can lead to blindness.
If you already have an existing eye condition, this should give you more reason to regularly visit your optometrist or ophthalmologist. Take note, though, that an optometrist may have limited capacity in treating eye diseases since they mainly specialize in correcting refractive errors. Ophthalmologists, on the other hand, are the doctors trained to treat and diagnose eye diseases.
In the case of pregnant women, smoking does not only affect the mother but the baby as well. It can cause premature birth, which can then cause the child to develop a serious eye problem called retinopathy of prematurity. Smoking also increases the risk of the baby getting bacterial meningitis.
Eyes on Norbeck offers a personalized approach to eye care. Our goal is for our patients to experience an improved quality of life and better eyesight by providing quality eye care and eyeglasses. Call us at (301) 241-0553 or fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation. We serve clients in Potomac, MD, and surrounding areas.