Well, smoking and healthy vision are inversely proportional. The more you smoke the lesser your chances of having a healthy vision. Smoking can even lead to blindness which is a threat to every smoker in the world. That’s what makes them ask so many questions about smoking and vision. In this article, we unravel how smoking affects your eyes and answer the most frequently asked questions in brief.
How does smoking cause vision problems?
Ever wondered why does smoke hurt your eyes? Maybe it’s just a sign to warn you about the many more severe vision problems that it can lead to. To understand these issues, you must know some facts.
Humans are able to see things because of the retina at the back of our eye. Now, macula, the central part of this retina is a small part covering 5%. This region plays a crucial role in what we see when driving, reading, doing paperwork, looking into digital devices etc. The rest part of the retina forms the peripheral vision.
Most vision problems, especially the ones that can eventually cause blindness, happen because of the damage on the macula. When you smoke, you increase the damage. But how?
The macular pigments that keep our photoreceptors healthy keep getting destroyed because of ageing, blue light, and ultraviolet light that cannot be entirely prevented. But, smoking accelerates this damage and creates more significant problems.
You must also know that there are 6-8 key nutrients that the macula needs to stay healthy and keep your vision sound. Smoking impairs the absorption of most of these nutrients. Thus, taking you closer to blindness.
Smoking enhances the amount of carboxyhemoglobin in the body. This increase creates a lack of oxygen, also known as hypoxia, for the macula. With no oxygen to power it up, how do you think the macula can help you see? The resulting disease is macular degeneration which is a principal cause of blindness all over the world.
Also note, that smoking increases your chances of getting diabetic by 40%. Which means you are more prone to diabetic retinopathy.
Retinopathy is a complication of diabetes where the blood vessels in the retina get affected. The blood vessels break down and leak into the eye. The resulting fluid gets collected and causes eye pressure. This pressure can eventually stop the supply of oxygen to the retina. Thus, causing vision loss. If you remember, smoking also causes a lack of oxygen supply to the retina. Together they speed up the process of vision loss, making you blind much earlier in life.
Similarly, smoking can double the risk of you having cataracts or glaucoma.
Other Frequently Asked Questions about Smoking and Healthy Vision
Can smoking cause blurred vision?
Smoking and blurred vision are directly related. The more you smoke, the more your chances of blurred vision. The habit of smoking does it by becoming a cause of sight-threatening diseases. For example, macular degeneration and retinopathy, that we just talked about.
The reason is that smokers can’t get enough oxygen to their retina and they also experience more damage to the eye cells than the average person. Thus, smoking tobacco products can damage your eyes' retina ability to contract and expand, causing a hazy vision. In fact, blurred vision is the first and the most significant signs of these diseases. And you know you have overdone it when you experience blurry vision after smoking a cigarette instantly.
Can smoke cause dry eyes?
Ever felt something like that a dirt particle or an eyelash has entered your eyes, causing irritation and itching only to find out there was nothing? That is a hint to dry eye syndrome. The syndrome happens when your eyes aren’t lubricated enough due to lack of enough tears on the eyes surface. Doctors call the feeling a 'foreign body' sensation.
So, how does smoking bring dry eyes into being? It doesn’t. Smoke can’t cause dry eyes. But it can certainly cause irritation and make your dry eye syndrome worse to handle. Research suggests that smokers can almost double their chances of getting dry eyes due to the one bad habit.
But, you don’t have to worry about something as terrible as blindness happening from dry eye syndrome. Yet, there are other small but uncomfortable problems you would like to avoid. These problems are actually symptoms, so be aware of them so that you know if the irritation you feel is leading to dry eye syndrome or not.
The signs are redness, pain, fatigue, itchiness, blurry vision, difficulty using your eyes, and sensitivity to bright light. Another annoying symptom is having a sensation that sand has entered your eyes - a gritty feeling.
Can smoke cause eye infections?
Yes. Smoke is one of the primary reasons that can increase your chances of developing an infection called Uveitis. Research suggests this increase is almost 2.2 times. And thus, it's crucial to take care considering that Uveitis can lead to blindness.
But what is Uveitis? It is an inflammation in the middle layer of your eye. The layer is also known as the uvea. It consists of the most vital structures - the iris, choroid and ciliary body. It is these structures that are responsible for the nutrition supply through the blood to the retina.
There are chances that this swelling in the uvea can lead to cataracts or glaucoma eventually. So, be on a lookout for other symptoms so that doctors can diagnose and treat it early. The other signs include blurred vision, black eye floaters, redness, pain and sensitivity to light.
If you feel the need for temporary relief at home, eye drops can prove to be useful.
Can smoke cause pink eyes?
Yes, that’s another name of conjunctivitis. And smoking can unquestionably lead to it. The type of conjunctivitis is allergic, and the major causes are allergens. While there can be many kinds of allergens like perfumes and chemicals like chlorine, smoke is the most common one. And why not? Over 7 million people in the UK smoke which also passively affects others. Some folks also experience dizziness and unfocused vision when people are smoking around.
A study done on children revealed that their chances of developing allergic pink eyes boosted by 20% only because of the passive smoke. That raises the alarm for all adults, especially smokers. If not treated early, allergic conjunctivitis may lead to blindness. Yet, there’s not much to worry though as Pink eyes are not difficult to treat.
But, the best solution is to stay away from smoke and quit it if you do yourself.
Does smoking increase eye pressure?
Eye pressure or intraocular pressure is the root cause of many issues like glaucoma. A study done on 3654 people in Sydney, including both smokers and nonsmokers, has shown that smokers have a slightly higher intraocular pressure than non-smokers.
Another study confirmed this. It revealed that the pressure right after smoking was way higher than the pressure measured after a gap of about 12 hours of non-smoking in smokers. This result means smoking can cause an incredible increase in eye pressure. Thus, leading you to glaucoma and eventually blindness, if action isn’t taken.
Can an eye doctor tell if you smoke cigarettes?
Certainly! The doctor can perform tests to detect the presence of nicotine in saliva, urine, and blood samples. Some nurses claim that it’s visible to them even without tests. Lung complaints, nicotine stains on fingernails, indentation and calluses on the fingers make it clear to them. Many smokers even have unusual wrinkles around the lips that are a result of excessive smoking. So, yes, doctors can surely tell that you smoke cigarettes, and they can also do tests to confirm.
How do you check for smoking damage?
Doctors measure the smoking damage to the eyes with the help of 6 tests. These are Spirometry, Chest X-Ray, CT scans. Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG), Diabetes screenings and Vitamin D blood tests.
Most of the damage done is visible on the skin, intestines, digestive tracts, lungs, and not to mention eyes, among many other parts of the body.
Does smoking affect your eye colour? Does smoking cause red eyes?
No, smoking cannot change your eye colour permanently. It may cause red eyes, however, as a sign of vision problems. These problems can occur due to smoking, like cataracts, glaucoma, retinopathy, conjunctivitis, Uveitis, etc. But, red eyes are temporary and will fade away when treated.
Why do my eyes water when I smoke?
The body has its own methods of getting rid of particles that are causing irritation in your eyes. The mechanism is that of increasing tear production to wash away the irritant with your tears. Smoke is one such allergen that can even cause allergic conjunctivitis. That’s why your eyes water when you smoke so that the body can keep your eyes healthy and remove the irritating smoke particles.
Can your eyes turn yellow from smoking?
No, smoking cannot turn your eyes yellow. Yellow eyes are usually a cause of hepatitis, gallstones, cancer or too much alcohol. Liver infection, some medications, and anaemia are also among a few other diseases that can lead to yellow eyes.
Does eyesight improve after quitting smoking?
Yes, it does! You can experience a radical improvement in vision after quitting your habit of smoking, especially if you are an addicted smoker.
As stated earlier, a study has revealed the humongous difference in the eye pressure of smokers measured right after smoking and then after 12 hours of not smoking. The result was astounding. Just 12 hours of not smoking can create a big difference in the results. You might recall that increased eye pressure is a leading cause of blindness. That's because it raises the risk of sight-threatening diseases like glaucoma and retinopathy.
Quitting smoking also gets you rid of an irritant, smoke. This fact implies that you are very less likely to experience a blurry sight, red eyes, dry eyes, watery eyes, itchiness and other annoying issues that hamper your vision. Also, if you don’t smoke, the retina will get enough oxygen supplied to function correctly and show the beautiful scenes of life clearly.
Smoking can cause a lot of damage to your eyes that can lead to issues like redness, pain, itching, irritation, swelling, dryness, watery eyes, blurred vision and more. Eventually, smoking can also raise your chances of experiencing vision loss. To avoid all this, you must quit smoking as soon as possible.
But until you quit it properly, you will have to face the less critical issues we just talked about. Spending your time in front of screens like phones, laptops, and tablets can make these issues worse. To help you out, we recommend using digital blue protection lenses - X-blue lenses in your glasses. They will protect you from the harmful blue light emitted from digital devices all day long. Thus, saving you from increasing your chances of blurred vision, dry eyes, redness, and pain.
If you spend a lot of time outdoors or at a place with loads of artificial lighting that emits ultraviolet rays, we suggest you use transition lenses or uv400 sunglasses. Transition lenses are also known as photochromic lenses and have the capability to absorb UV rays. Doing this, they turn to a darker shade in accordance with the UV light present around. More the UV rays, the darker the tints are to protect your eyes against them. When you are indoors, these transition lenses stay clear to provide you clear vision.
UV400 sunglasses use advanced technology to shield your eyes against both UVA and UVB rays of the sun. These rays can increase the risk of cataracts, conjunctivitis, macular degeneration and similar eye problems.
For your eye’s health, Specscart makes sure to add a layer of anti-glare and anti-UV coating to all its products so that you don’t have to face the trouble of blurred vision, pain, and irritation caused without them. These coatings on the eyewear are absolutely free of cost along with scratch-resistant and impact-resistant properties. Our goal is to provide you with maximum protection with style for an improved vision and life.
So, till you get successful in quitting your habit of smoking, get the appropriate pair of glasses or sunglasses and promise your eyes some care and love. Grab this opportunity! Choose from the assortment of styles and colours we have for you today!