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Smoking and Eye Health

Smoking is a well-known cause for various health problems. Here, our focus is on the effects of smoking and second hand smoke on your eyes. If you are thinking of quitting smoking and limiting your exposure to second hand smoke, your choice will be one of the best investments you can make on your long term health.

Dry eye syndrome is the lack of tears on the surface of the eyes in order to maintain good eye health and lubrication. For smokers and those who are exposed to smoking, dry eye syndrome is a major possibility as tobacco smoke is a well-known eye irritant. Additionally, tobacco smoke is also irritating for those who wear contact lenses. Women who continue to smoke or to be exposed to cigarette smoke during pregnancy are at high risk of transmitting various dangerous toxins to their fetus and increasing its risk of developing a range of conditions. Aside from other health issues, smoking during pregnancy can also lead to various eye diseases in infants such as crossed eyes (strabismus) and underdeveloped optic nerves.

Smoking during the teens or during the twenties has the ability to increase the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. The more or the longer a person smokes, the higher the risks will be. According to studies, smokers are three times more likely to develop macular degeneration than non-smokers. Studies have also shown that smokers are much more likely to develop cataracts than non-smokers. Quitting the habit at any point of your life can help decrease the risks of developing these conditions.

Smoking is also proven to increase the likelihood of developing uveitis (an inflammation of the uvea, the middle layer of the eye). This is a serious condition that may even result in the total loss of vision. According to one study, smokers were twice as likely to develop uveitis in comparison to non-smokers. The risk of developing diabetic retinopathy is also high in smokers. In fact, studies have shown that smoking can double the risk of developing diabetes.

In addition to these direct issues, smoking is also known to increase the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases that may influence the good health of your eyes.

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