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Smoking does not just cause cancer, it can damage the eyes too

We know for certain that when we smoke tobacco, we are putting our lives at great danger. There simply remains no denying that cigarettes do a whole lot of harm to our body than good. In a way, that means a smoker should consider quitting before the problem substantiates.

Conventionally speaking, the biggest consequence of smoking includes the damage inflicted to the lungs. Supported by a number of empirical studies, it increases the secretion of mucus which starts accumulating in the lungs hence inflating the airways.

More importantly, the substances contained within a cigarette have carcinogenic properties. Meaning by, they have the ability to cause cancer in an individual.

The list of side effects just doesn’t end there and there has been a new update in that regard. Now growing scientific evidence has suggested smoking to damage the eyes subsequently leading to blindness!

Smoking and Eyes

The research was conducted by scientists associated with the Association of Optometrists. They investigated whether smoking cigarettes have any effect whatsoever on the eyes or not. Their findings suggested that yes, there might be causation which can be identified.

First and foremost, the chemical constituents present in a cigarette are harmful in every possible way. While they are carcinogenic, they also have a tendency to cause serious irritation in the eyes. One of the major concerns is the danger to the retina as a result of smoking.

The problem is likely to worsen for patients with diabetes. The blood vessels leading up to the retina are damaged consequently affecting the person’s vision.

Additionally, there is also evidence to suggest tobacco to restrict the ability to focus clearly on distant objects. The condition is referred to as Macular Degeneration and is an irreplaceable loss in most circumstances. While the situation is a result of od ageing, smoking simply initiates the problem earlier.

Lastly, Optic Neuritis or simply the inflammation of the optic nerve is another big consequence. When you smoke excessively, the nerve fibers start to get inflamed causing disruption in the information relayed from the eye to the brain.

The Problem of Unawareness

Perhaps the bigger issue in hand is the lack of unawareness about the issue. Often, we tend to take the side effects for granted. While the effects on the lungs are relatively popular, the other consequences are often looked down upon.

Statistics have shown us exactly that. As per 2017, there were 34 million adult smokers residing in the US. What is startling is that only one in every fifth individual is aware of the fact that cigarettes can cause damage to the eyes. This compared to the 75% of the smoking population who knew about the health side effects on the lungs.

Suffice to argue that the relationship between poor vision/blindness and tobacco fails to ring a bell. There is a need more so than ever for the health authorities to contribute something meaningful in that regard.

Possibly, the first initiative could be widespread awareness about the situation. Promotions on the cig-packs is a good way to step with. Only through our collective will we be able to curb the problem in its entirety.


Areeba Hussain

Areeba is an independent medical and healthcare writer. For the last three years, she is writing for Tophealthjournal. Her prime areas of interest are diseases, medicine, treatments, and alternative therapies. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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