Smoking Can Cause Blindness

It’s not just heart disease and cancer risks.

KUALA LUMPUR, July 8 — Smokers are twice as likely to lose their sight compared to non-smokers.

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) in the United Kingdom have raised their concern that few people were aware of the impact that smoking could have on the eyesight of smokers.

“Smoking increases the risk of sight-threatening conditions, such as age-related macular degeneration, which is an important reason why smokers should consider quitting,” said Aishah Fazlanie, Optometrist and Clinical and Regulatory Adviser for the AOP told the BBC.

Tobacco smoke can cause and worsen eye conditions due to the presence of toxic chemicals such as lead and copper, which can irritate and harm the eyes. Such heavy metals could lead to cataracts.

Eyesight problems due to diabetes could be further worsened by damage to blood vessels in the retina.

Age-related macular degeneration is also three times more likely to occur among smokers, which could lead to them being unable to discern fine details.

Smokers are 16 times more likely than non-smokers to develop optic neuropathy, possibly leading to a sudden loss of vision.

In a poll conducted by the AOP, only one in five individuals knew of a link between smoking and poor eye health.

The organisation stated that, together with regular checks, ceasing to smoke would be among the best steps to take to protect one’s vision.

In the UK, 17 per cent of men and 13 per cent of women, approximately 7.4 million people, are currently smokers. Around 60 per cent say they want to quit.

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