Many smokers remain in the dark over the link between smoking and vision loss despite studies showing a strong relationship between the two.
Optometrist Alex Gage is urging smokers to consider their eye health when they next light up ahead of No Smoking Day on March 9.
Alex says while the effects of smoking on the heart and lungs may be well-known, fewer people realise there is a strong risk of vision loss for smokers.
“Smoking damages the eye tissues and smokers double their risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is one of the leading causes of sight loss in the UK. Smokers also tend to develop the condition earlier than non-smokers” he adds.
“The best way to protect your vision and eye health is to stop smoking – we urge all smokers to try and kick the habit for good on No Smoking Day.”
Smokers also have a higher chance of developing cataracts which, if left untreated, can result in visual impairment. It can also aggravate diabetic-related sight problems and raises the risks for cardiovascular diseases that indirectly influence your eyes’ health.
Passive smoking also increases the risk for non-smokers of developing health problems.
Regular eye appointments allow optometrists to examine the interior of the eye to detect diseases and Alex encourages people to make an eye appointment if they have not had their eyes examined in the last two years.