Mumbai: Smoking is a well-known risk factor for various health problems, including lung cancer and heart disease. Now, eye experts from Dr. Agarwals Eye Hospitals are highlighting the detrimental effects of smoking on vision, including an increased risk of early vision loss and cataracts.
Dr. Nita A Shah, Head – Clinical Services, Dr Agarwals Eye Hospital, Chembur, Mumbai, informs, “Smoking can cause damage to the optic nerve which connects the eye to the brain, leading to vision loss. Smoking also increases the risk of cardiovascular disorders that impact the eye. The chemicals in cigarette smoke cause significant damage to the eyes, exacerbating existing eye conditions and increasing the risk of developing cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, dry eye syndrome, optic neuropathy, and other eye diseases.”
Dr. Nita A Shah, emphasizes the connection between smoking and vision problems. She states, “Smokers are more prone to developing eye conditions that can lead to early vision loss and cataracts. The harmful chemicals in cigarette smoke can directly affect the eyes and contribute to the development and progression of these conditions.”
Cataracts, a clouding of the natural lens of the eye, are a significant concern for smokers. Dr. Nita A Shah explains, “Smoking can accelerate the formation of cataracts, causing them to develop at an earlier age than in non-smokers. Cataracts can cause blurry vision, increased sensitivity to glare, and difficulty seeing clearly, ultimately affecting a person’s quality of life.”
Furthermore, smokers are at a higher risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of vision loss in older adults. Dr. Nita A Shah states, “AMD affects the macula, which is responsible for central vision. Smoking can accelerate the progression of AMD and increase the risk of severe vision loss. It is crucial for smokers to understand the impact of smoking on their vision health and take steps to quit smoking to preserve their eyesight.”
Studies have shown a direct link between smoking and an increased risk of diabetic retinopathy, a complication of diabetes that affects the blood vessels in the retina. Dr. Nita A Shah advises, “Smoking can worsen the progression of diabetic retinopathy, leading to vision problems and potential blindness. Smokers with diabetes should be particularly vigilant about managing their blood sugar levels and quitting smoking to protect their eyes.”
Dr. Nita A Shah urges smokers to prioritize their eye health by quitting smoking. She says, “Quitting smoking is the most effective way to reduce the risk of vision problems. It is never too late to quit, and the benefits extend far beyond eye health. Quitting smoking can improve overall health and significantly reduce the risk of various diseases.”
The eye experts at Dr. Agarwals Eye Hospitals strongly recommend regular eye examinations for smokers to monitor their eye health and detect any potential problems at an early stage. Dr. Nita A Shah emphasizes, “Early detection is key to preserving vision. Smokers should schedule regular eye exams and inform their eye doctors about their smoking history. This enables the eye experts to closely monitor their eye health and provide timely interventions, if necessary.”