Will Smoking Give Me Cataracts?

Will Smoking Give Me Cataracts?

January 17th, 2020
Man being repulsed by another man smoking a cigarette

Cataracts are a common vision problem among older people around the world. Most of us will experience them to some extent by the time we are in our seventies or eighties if not before.

For most people, cataracts are unavoidable and result in vision loss. While cataracts occur naturally as a result of aging, there are factors that can cause earlier development.

One of these factors is, indeed, the habit of smoking. Smoking doubles your risk of early cataract development.

Your risk of early cataracts increases the longer you continue to smoke. Smoking also increases your risk for other eye diseases and other health problems.

Quitting is not easy for most people, but it is worth the effort. You can use online resources or reach out to a local support group.

These are your best resources if you want to kick the habit for good. Keep reading to find out more about smoking and cataract development!

Why Does Smoking Cause Cataracts?

Cataracts are caused by proteins inside of the lens of the eye breaking down and becoming opaque. This cloudiness blocks light from entering the eye. It causes vision loss, as well as the potential for several other symptoms.

The exact link between smoking and cataracts is still unconfirmed. It’s believed that smoking alters the cells inside the lens of the eye through a process called oxidation.

But there is also evidence that suggests smoking causes metals like cadmium to build up inside of the lens. Both of these may play a part in why smoking causes cataracts.

Other Eye Problems Caused By Smoking

There are many other eye-related problems that smoking encourages. Some are easy to deal with, while others can lead to permanent vision loss.

Macular degeneration is a very serious condition that develops in stages. With macular degeneration, the macula degrades. The center of the retina, which is the macula, can begin to degrade over time.

This is likely to happen especially if there is not enough blood flow to the eye. Research suggests that smoking does just that.

It interferes with the circulation of blood to the macula, causing irreparable damage. Oxidation may also have something to do with it.

Dry eyes are also common among smokers. Smoke can enter your eyes and cause significant irritation. Repeated every day for years, this habit can cause chronic problems with tear production.

What Can You Do?

If you are currently a smoker, then it is not too late to stop. Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do right now for your health in every regard.

Studies have shown that after 25 years of being smoke-free, your chance of developing cataracts can drop around 20%. This is when compared to people that are smokers.

Also, you will be lowering your risk of developing countless other potential health problems.

If you think smoking is already affecting your vision, the best thing you can do is see an eye doctor. Schedule an appointment at Laser Eye Center in Huntsville, Alabama!

Eye exams are vital in detecting vision problems early on and preventing further damage.