What’s Your Preference, Smoking Or Healthy Eyes?

Smoking, Diabetes, And Blindness

Smoking is linked to a range of vision health risks such as diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, thyroid eye disease as well as the interference with the production of tears causing dry eye syndrome, Exposure to smoke at any level can cause irritation to your eyes and cause a burning sensation, redness, and tearing up are commonplace with exposure to smoke. blurred vision, color vision changes. It is well known that Diabetes damages the tiny blood vessels in the retina, therefore, causing vessels to leak blood and fluid into the eye and therefore leading to partial or total vision loss. Many people don’t realize that smoking can lead to vision loss. Studies show smoking increases the risk of age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy, and Dry Eye Syndrome (Source: NY Dept of Health):

  • Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
    • One way to reduce the risk of developing AMD is by NOT smoking. Smokers are three to four times more likely to develop AMD than nonsmokers. Nonsmokers living with smokers almost double their risk of developing AMD.
  • Cataract
    • Heavy smokers (15 cigarettes/day or more) have up to three times the risk of cataracts as nonsmokers.
  • Glaucoma
    • There is a strong link between smoking and high blood pressure, cataracts, and diabetes all of which are risk factors for glaucoma.
  • Diabetic Retinopathy
    • Smoking can increase your chances of getting diabetes. It can also make managing diabetes more difficult for those who already have it. Complications of diabetes made worse by smoking include retinopathy, heart disease, stroke, vascular disease, kidney disease, nerve damage, foot problems, and many others.
  • Dry Eye Syndrome
    • Dry Eye Syndrome is more than twice as likely to impact smokers as non-smokers.

Quitting smoking will improve your night vision and help preserve your overall vision by stopping the damage that smoking does to your eyes.

Smoking And Type 1 Diabetes

If you have Type I Diabetes and smoke, you are putting your vision in jeopardy.  Research has shown:

Moreover, the National Institute of Health (NIH), “diabetic retinopathy, the most common form of diabetic eye disease, is the leading cause of blindness in adults ages 20–74. It occurs when diabetes damages blood vessels in the retina [and] it affects 7.7 million Americans. That number is projected to increase to more than 14.6 million people by 2030. The longer a person has diabetes, the greater the risk for diabetic eye disease [and] once vision is lost, it often cannot be restored.”

What You Should Know

Contact our office immediately if you have symptoms specific to eye disease resulting from smoking.

photo credit: Michelle Ding- Unsplash


RVC Optometric Associates
282 Sunrise Highway
Rockville Centre, NY 11570

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