These days, few smokers could claim that they don’t know about the dangers to their health. Lung cancer, emphysema, and other smoking-related diseases are well known. But, aside from these potentially life-threatening illnesses, can smoking affect your vision? And, if so, how?
In 2014, the Surgeon General published an extensive report on The Health Consequences of Smoking – 50 Years of Progress. The report highlighted the progress and new data available on the known effects of smoking and discussed opportunities to bring the smoking epidemic in the United States to an end.
First, the big picture: Since the Surgeon General’s first report on smoking and health in 1964, more than 20 million Americans have died of smoking-related illness, and it’s projected that nearly 500,000 will continue to die prematurely each year as a result of smoking. The annual economic costs of tobacco use are nearly $300 billion annually.
According to the Report:
- Smoking causes cataracts.
- Smoking causes Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
- Smokers are twice as likely as nonsmokers to develop dry eye syndrome
- Smoking can increase the risk of developing diabetes, make diabetes management more difficult, and can lead to more diabetes complications.
- Smoking may also increase the risk of diabetic retinopathy (if you are already diabetic).
Many employers now offer smoking cessation programs to their employees. If you don’t have access to those, there is plenty of free support available from various organizations. Also, enlist the help of family and friends. Living longer and healthier for our loved ones can be a powerful incentive to overcome the addiction.
The good news from the report is that quitting smoking now may reduce your risk of ever developing AMD, cataracts, glaucoma, or diabetic retinopathy, along with many other ailments. The professionals at Takle Eye Group are excited to monitor your eye health throughout your smoking cessation journey. Call us to make an appointment!
For more information from the 2014 U.S. Surgeon General’s Report, click here.