Toxic chemicals such as heavy metals, including lead and copper, can collect in the lens and harm the eyes.

A poll by the Association of Optometrists (AOP) found that despite the obvious link between the two variables, sadly only one in five people are aware that smoking may lead to blindness. From 2,006 adults, 18% correctly said that smoking increased the risk of blindness, while three-quarters (76%) knew smoking was linked to cancer.

The RNIB explains that tobacco smoke can cause and worsen a number of eye conditions. Toxic chemicals such as heavy metals, including lead and copper, can collect in the lens, and harm the eyes, by causing conditions such as cataracts.

Additionally, smoking can make diabetes-related sight problems worse by damaging blood vessels in the retina, and smokers are even three times more likely to develop age-related macular degeneration, a condition which makes a person unable to see fine details.

Smoking and sight-threatening conditions

Smokers are 16 times more likely to develop sudden loss of vision caused by optic neuropathy than non-smokers, a condition where the blood supply to the eye becomes blocked.

“People tend to know about the link between smoking and cancer, but many people are not aware of the impact that smoking can have upon the eyes,” said Aishah Fazlanie, Optometrist and Clinical and Regulatory Adviser for the AOP. “Smoking increases the risk of sight-threatening conditions, such as age-related macular degeneration, which is an important reason why smokers should consider quitting.”

Read Further: BBC

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