Everyone knows that smoking is bad for the lungs. It is less well known that smoking can also damage the eyes and lead to blurred vision, or even blindness.
This is indicated by the British organization of the blind "Royal National Institute of the Blind" (RNIB).
Compared to non-smokers, smokers are twice as likely to lose their sight. The reason is the smoke, which contains toxic substances and can irritate and damage the eyes.
Increased risk of these diseases
Smoking increases the risk of developing any of these 5 eye diseases:
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
This retinal disease mainly affects the elderly. AMD is a leading cause of blindness in people over 50 years old.
"Smokers are up to four times more likely to develop AMD," says the organization.
The risk of developing cataracts is twice as high for smokers as for non-smokers. The opacity of the lens is favored by the presence of heavy metals in tobacco smoke, such as copper and lead.
In addition, smokers developed cataracts as nonsmokers and progressed more rapidly.
If the eyes are painful and irritating, dry eye may be one of the reasons. This is often intensified or triggered by smoking, says the RNIB.
Vascular inflammation (uveitis)
Uveitis is an inflammation of the skin of the eyes. Again, the risk for smokers is twice as high. These inflammations of the vascular skin (Uvea) can also lead to glaucoma or cataracts.
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This retinal disease is triggered by diabetes. During this process, the small blood vessels of the retina are more and more damaged, which can lead to loss of vision and, in the worst case, blindness.
Diabetics who smoke have an increased risk of developing diabetic retinopathy.
The recommendation of the blind UK RNIB organization is obvious: stop smoking. "It's the best you can do to protect your eyesight."