Smoking is the leading cause of death and disease worldwide. Want another reason to quit smoking? There are some serious effects on your vision caused by smoking? Here are some of them.
Carotenoid concentrations (beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin) in the blood are depressed. Even smokers who eat large amounts of green leafy vegetables will have lower blood concentrations than nonsmokers.
In the earlier section
I discussed oxidative stress, the ongoing damage that free radicals can do, and how antioxidants can help reduce this damage. In the section
I discussed the particular effects of oxidative stress on your vision.
Well, the bad news is that smoking increases oxidative stress while also reducing antioxidant levels in your blood. This means that you are increasing the damage while at the same time reducing the only help available to combat it.
Smoking also increases the risk of vascular disease, so the likelihood of damage to the blood vessels in your eyes increases the more you smoke.
This triple whammy of destruction greatly increases your chances of developing an “age-related” eye disease. For example, researchers have found a direct correlation between the number of years of smoking, and the number of cigarettes smoked each day, with the incidence of macular degeneration.
Smokers have less than half the macular pigment density of smokers, and these low levels increase the risk that smokers will develop macular degeneration.
Smoking’s effects on your vision are cumulative, that is, the more you smoke, the worse your vision will become. And these effects are irreversible. They cannot be undone by eating more nutritious foods or taking more antioxidant supplements.
Are you a nonsmoker? Have you already quit smoking? If you live with a smoker, or work in a smoky environment (for example, a bar or restaurant), you have a slightly greater risk of contracting macular degeneration.
Since smoking’s effects continue to accumulate, the only thing you can do to help your vision is to quit smoking. It’s not easy, and you’re going to need help, but the rewards (continuing good vision, or a possible halt to visual decline) are definitely worth it.
What’s the best way to quit smoking? Use nicotine patches or chewing gum — both now available without a doctor’s prescription — or a nicotine inhaler, which does require a prescription.
Combine these nicotine replacement therapies with behavioral techniques designed to help you quit smoking. And start exercising, or exercise more.
There are many organizations that can provide you with information on how you can quit smoking. You may need to sample a few methods until you find one that works for you.
Don’t put it off! You’ll thank yourself when you’re older and still have your sight left.