I hope everybody enjoyed their holidays. It’s the start of the new year and many of us have made resolutions that we want to keep. Quitting smoking would be high on the priority list for some of us. It has been well documented that smoking has a strong association with lung cancer and cardiovascular disease among the general population. However, according to surverys, only 9% of the population knows that smoking can be detrimental to your eye health. So what are some ocular complications from smoking?
1. Age Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD) – Smoking is the strongest epidemiolgical risk factor for developing ARMD. The understanding of the mechanism is limited but the most likely causes are oxidative damage and pathological vascular changes.
2. Dry Eyes – Smoking can damage goblet cells that are important in producing the oily layer for our tears.
3. Graves’ Ophthalmopathy – Cyanide in the cigarettes can act as an anti-thyroid agent. This directly inhibits the iodide uptake and hormone synthesis. When this happens, this may lead to proptosis (bulging of the eyeballs)
4. Glaucoma – Some studies have shown a 2.9 times increase in developing glaucoma. Smoking has also shown that it may increase your eye pressure by almost 5.0 mmHg.
5. Cataracts – There is an increase of nuclear sclerotic cataracts and subcapsular cataracts. The free radicals that are in cigarettes may trigger the development of cataracts sooner than the general population.
Your optometrist can check if there is any ocular health damage due to smoking. If you need help to quit smoking, talk to your optometrist or your family doctor. Websites such as www.smokershelpline.ca or www.gosmokefree.gc.ca may also help. At Avenue Eyecare, we are here to help you with all your eyecare needs.
Vancouver Kerrisdale Optometrist
Contact Avenue Eyecare to book your appointment today.