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How smoking puts your vision at risk

Ahead of No Smoking Day 2018, we share the real risk of smoking to your eyes...

March 14th is National No Smoking Day, and ahead of it this year we wanted to help give you some extra motivation to help you stub it out for good.

By now we all know, and should know, the very real and detrimental effects smoking can have on our general health, with many fatal conditions which can seriously harm our heart and lungs.

But did you know that smoking can cause significant damage to our eyes and our vision?

Research has directly linked smoking to two leading causes of vision loss - cataracts and macular degeneration - with many believing it contributes to other eye health conditions.

Smoking causes harm to the tissues of the eye, and studies have proved that smoking does have a harmful effect on our sight.

It is for this reason why smoking is a key risk factor in developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is the leading cause of blindness in the UK.

In fact, it has been suggested that one in every five cases of AMD are caused by smoking, according to research from the British Medical Journal.

If you are currently a smoker, the evidence only adds to the benefits of stopping altogether, as you are currently at risk of developing AMD a whole five years earlier than someone who doesn’t smoke.

Not only that but you also stand to be double the risk of developing cataracts when compared to a non-smoker.

Cataracts are when the lens of the eye naturally grows cloudy, causing blurred vision and other effects as detailed in our previous blog post.

Smoking is believe to both accelerate and contribute to cataracts through oxidation, which alters the cells of the lens.

These are just two of the leading causes of vision loss, and smoking has also been linked to other eye-related conditions such as diabetic retinopathy, dry eyes, optic nerve damage, conjunctivitis and more.

Smoking can also double your chances of losing or permanently effecting your vision as cigarettes contain toxins which can enter the eye and increase your risk of sight loss by up to four times.

And even though there is an increased risk for those who smoke more heavily, even the odd cigarette can still pose a serious risk to your vision.

So remember, if you are a smoker or know a loved one who is, it is never too late to stop and reduce the risk of developing serious vision loss.

They will feel better and will benefit from the overall health benefits of stopping.

So this No Smoking day, why not put a stop to the habit for good?

Trust us, in the long run, you will really see a difference.

For help and advice to stop smoking please visit - https://www.nhs.uk/livewell/smoking/Pages/stopsmokingnewhome.aspx