Stop Smoking And Improve Your Vision. According to the Royal National Institute of the Blind, people are more fearful of losing their sight than they are of any other sense.
While smokers will almost certainly be aware that their expensive habit can lead to lung cancer and heart disease, they may not be quite as aware that smoking can cause blindness.
Over 25% Of Age-Related Macular Degeneration Due To Smoking
According to Ophthalmic surgeon Simon Kelly, over 54,000 people in the UK have Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) as a result of smoking and 17,800 of these people are completely blind. Mr. Kelly says that the evidence shows that more than 25% of all cases of AMD with visual impairment and blindness can be attributed to a current or past smoking habit. The University of Manchester carried out the research.
Giving up smoking will help to reduce the risk of AMG when you are older. It will also increase the amount of Vitamin C you absorb from food (smoking destroys Vitamin C), which is an important vitamin for eye health.
If you are contemplating laser therapy, you should also be aware that it is more likely to be effective in the longer term if you are not a smoker.
AMD Is One Of The Leading Causes of Adult Blindness
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the highest cause of adult blindness in the UK and affects around half a million people. It causes severe loss of sight which cannot be reversed and is particularly a problem for people over the age of 60.
Cigarette packets already contain health warnings about lung cancer, heart disease, and infertility but experts think that these warnings should be extended to show smokers how their habit can permanently damage their sight, a downside they may not be currently aware of.
What Does Smoking Actually Do To Sight?
So why does smoking lead to a higher risk of AMD? Smoking affects your sight in many ways. Firstly, it reduces the blood flow around your eyes, reduces antioxidant levels in the body and it may also affect the many pigments in the retina.
If you smoke not only is your risk of AMD higher, but it may well progress faster than if you were a non-smoker. The average age for smokers to develop AMD is 69 years old; compared to 72 for former smokers and 74 years for those people who have never smoked in their lives.
If you want to give up smoking, there are several helping mechanisms in place today to assist you. Visit your GP, who may run an NHS anti-smoking clinic and prescribe Nicotine gum or Nicotine patches to help you with your withdrawal symptoms.