Smoking is the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States. It harms nearly every organ in your body — including your eyes.
Here are more reasons you should kick the habit:
Smoking And Cataracts
Cataracts are a leading cause of blindness in the world. More than 50 percent of Americans will have a cataract or have had cataract surgery by age 80.
Smokers significantly increase their risk of developing a cataract compared with non-smokers. In fact, studies show that people who smoke double their chance of forming cataracts, and the risk continues to increase the more you smoke.
Smoking And Macular Degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) affects the center of the retina, which is responsible for sharp, central vision needed for everyday tasks such as reading and driving.
Macular degeneration causes "blind spots" and often severely impairs central vision. AMD is the leading cause of permanent vision loss among Americans age 65 and older.
Studies show smokers can have a three-fold increase in the risk of developing AMD compared with people who have never smoked. And female smokers over age 80 are 5.5 times more likely to develop AMD than non-smokers of the same age.
Smoking And Uveitis
Uveitis (inflammation of the eye's middle layer, or uvea) is a serious eye disease that can result in complete vision loss. It harms vital structures of the eye, including the iris and retina, and can lead to complications such as cataract, glaucoma and retinal detachment.
Evidence shows smokers are more likely than non-smokers to have uveitis, and smoking appears linked to the development of uveitis. One study found smoking was associated with a 2.2 times greater than normal risk of having the condition.
Smoking And Diabetic Retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy damages the blood vessels of the retina and can result in vision loss.
More than 5 million Americans age 40 and older have diabetic retinopathy due to type 1 or type 2 diabetes. And that number will grow to about 16 million by 2050, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Smoking may as much as double the risk of developing diabetes.
Smoking And Dry Eyes
Tobacco smoke is a known eye irritant and worsens dry eye — even among second-hand smokers — particularly for contact lens wearers. People who smoke are nearly twice as likely to have dry eyes.
Smoking And Infant Eye Disease
Women who smoke during pregnancy transmit dangerous toxins to the placenta, potentially harming the unborn child. Smoking while pregnant increases the chance of many fetal and infant eye disorders, among other serious health problems.
Are You Ready To Quit?
It's never too late to quit smoking and enjoy the benefits of a healthier lifestyle and, ultimately, a healthier body. Quitting smoking at any age can reduce your risk of developing many sight-threatening eye conditions.