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Posted on 11-01-2017
Tobacco smoke contains over 40 known carcinogens and at least 5000 different chemicals harmful to your health. While we all understand the fact that smoking increases your risk of lung cancer, heart disease, and other serious, chronic diseases, many people do not realize the impact smoking has on their vision and eye health. Smoke vision damage involves the development of cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, and possibly glaucoma if you have high blood pressure. In addition, eye cancer (intraocular melanoma) is a little-known disease that often remains asymptomatic. If you smoke, getting annual eye exams is vital to ensuring your optometrist detects smoke-related eye diseases as early as possible.
Chemicals in tobacco smoke combined with excessive exposure to sunlight and age increase the risk of cataract development. While cataracts can be removed, cataract surgery presents a risk for retinal detachment in people with severe myopia.
Smoking is known to contribute to ARMD, an eye disease impairing your central visual field. No treatment for ARMD is available but certain lifestyle changes may delay progression of ARMD. If you are over 50, you should be aware that ARMD may not cause symptoms until it has progressed to an advanced stage.
The middle layer of your eye is called the uvea. Containing the iris, the choroid (tissues and blood vessels) and the aqueous humor (secretes eye fluid), the uvea is thought to develop inflammation from tobacco chemicals and carcinogens. Uveitis is a serious disease that could lead to partial or even total vision loss if not treated promptly.
Smokers and people exposed to second-hand smoke frequently suffer from chronically dry eyes due to the dehydrating qualities of tobacco smoke. Dry eyes constantly irritated by smoke may suffer recurring eye infections, corneal ulcers, and smoke vision damage.
If you are worried about smoking and eye health and would like to schedule an eye exam with Dr. Shida, please call Eye 1st Vision Center today at 404-252-1702.
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