Whenever you inhale cigarette smoke, nearly 4,000 chemicals are introduced into your bloodstream. If you are a habitual smoker, these chemicals will eventually damage your macula (the center of your retina), resulting in vision problems. Cataracts and macular degeneration are two common consequences of habitual smoking.
Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in people 65+ years old in the United States, and smoking is the number one preventable risk factor of macular degeneration. In fact, according to a 2006 study in the British Journal of Ophthalmology, smoking is directly linked with 25% of macular degeneration cases that end in blindness. Secondhand smoke is also a problem. The study reveals that living with a person who smokes doubles your chances of developing macular degeneration.
Studies also show that the more cigarettes you smoke, and the longer you have been a smoker, the higher your risk of developing cataracts. Heavy smokers are up to three times more likely to have cataracts compared to non-smokers. The free radicals in cigarette smoke increase the oxidative stress in the lens of your eye, damaging important proteins and fiber cell membranes that ultimately result in the opacity of cataracts.
If you are a smoker, or have been a heavy smoker in the past and are concerned about your eye health, please contact The Khanna Institute today or call (877) 254-2662 to schedule an appointment with board-certified Los Angeles ophthalmologist Dr. Rajesh Khanna.