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The impact of smoking on vision

01 Oct 2010
"Smoking causes heart disease and lung cancer" - this phrase can be seen on almost every package of cigarettes.
Journalists from the British journal "Ophthalmology" interviewed 250 youth clubs regulars aged from 16 to 18 years. The survey found that smokers are more than 20% of young women, and more than 15% of young men. But only 2% of them know that smoking has a very negative impact on vision. This lung cancer and cardiac disease were evaluated by respondents as a much less scary risk factors.
The fact that smoking adversely affects the vision became known in the course of research conducted by scientists from the University of Manchester, UK. According to the statistics obtained, the relationship between smoking and blindness by the same strong as that between smoking and lung cancer.
Scientists claim that smoking leads to a particular form of blindness called "age-macular degeneration."
Macular degeneration - a degenerative retinal disease that causes progressive loss of macular (central vision). The risk of developing macular degeneration of the retina increases with age. Most often this disease susceptible people aged 60-70 years. Macular degeneration of the retina is the most common cause of vision loss in people after 50 years.
The yellow spot is a central part of the retina. Its main feature - visual recognition of the smallest details. Cells macular perceiving light, called photoreceptors, convert light into electrical impulses through the optic nerve, and transmit these impulses to the brain. Loss of central vision due to macular degeneration of the retina is the result of macular degeneration the cells of the retina - the photoreceptors.
Smoking destroys the cells in the macular area of ​​the retina. At the same time the smoker does not assimilate nutrients from food needed to save vision.
Smokers risk of this degeneration is four times more than those who do not smoke. Even the non-permanent smokers, those who smoke occasionally, the risk of blindness in two times more than non-smokers.
In addition to macular degeneration smokers may be at risk and other diseases of organs of vision. This conclusion was made by scientists from the University of San Francisco, based on the results of his research. These illnesses are: cataract and uveitis.
Cataract -oftalmologicheskoe disease associated with clouding of the eye's lens and causing varying degrees of visual disturbances. There are nuclear (or nuclear), cortical and posterior form of cataracts.
In the course of the research it has been found that the risk of nuclear cataracts largely increases when smoking tube (3.1 times) than cigarettes (1.5 times). Scientists attribute this to the influence of not just a tube, and a large number of lateral smoke, which can affect the eyes. It is believed that under the influence of an increased risk of smoking can be at least partially due to the pro-oxidants formed during smoking and also to the fact that smoking reduces the content of substances in the body, performing the function of an antioxidant such as ascorbic acid and nicotinamide. Also contained in the tobacco smoke substances such as cadmium and isocyanate have the property of damaging the structure of the lens.
Uveitis - inflammation of the choroid (uveal tract). This disease is a common cause of visual impairment and blindness (about 25%). The main symptoms of the disease are the "fog" in front of the eyes, blurred vision (maybe even complete blindness), redness of the eyes, photophobia, and lacrimation.
In smokers uveitis develops in two times more likely than non-smokers. Scientists have shown that the disease develops due to malicious smoke. Unfortunately, every tenth person suffering from uveitis, losing sight completely. Also at risk of losing sight and passive smokers, are often among the smoke.
Smoking can slow blood flow in the retina and retinal vessels impair the ability to self-regulation under hypoxic conditions, with diabetes have this ability, which has already been reduced as a result of diabetes disappears completely. Hypoxia is a leading factor in the progression of diabetic retinopathy.
Retinopathy - non-inflammatory damage to the retina of the eyeball. The main reason is vascular disorders that lead to the breakdown of the blood supply to the retina.
Another very serious violation in the area of ​​the eye that can lead to blindness, is a rising ischemic optic neuropathy (AION)
Ischemic optic neuropathy refers to vascular lesions of the optic nerve. It occurs in acute blood circulation in the blood vessels that nourish the optic nerve. This gives rise to a violation of visual function. Usually affects one eye, sometimes defeat is a two-way
Although it is not as a violation of a known cause of blindness, as some others, at the risk of smokers is increasing very rapidly. According to one study, the probability of AION among those who smoke, increases 16 times. Other risk factors were only elevated cholesterol and fibrinogen, which increases the risk of respectively 2.7 and 5 times. Other risk factors for this disease has been found. Smokers get sick this pathology in a much earlier age than non-smokers.
Nicotine addiction is terrible for the eyes by the fact that impairs the function of the thyroid gland. Hard to supply iodine, on this basis develops the disease, received in the name of medicine, Graves, and more popularly known as exophthalmia. In the treatment of this disease is a prerequisite for giving up smoking.
Graves' disease - an endocrine disorder caused by excess thyroid hormone. It is characterized by overproduction of the hormone thyroxine, thyroid enlargement (goiter) and numerous changes in all body systems.
And another important point. Tobacco smoke is a very potent allergen, and in those who smoke or in the smoke-filled room, can develop allergic conjunctivitis.
Allergic conjunctivitis - is an allergic inflammation of the mucous membranes of the eyes. It can be manifested in the form of redness of eyes and mucous century, the feeling of "sand" in the eyes, permanent slёzotechenie.
Finally it should be noted that children of smoking mothers are more prone to the development of strabismus.
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