Yet One More Reason To Stop Smoking

Yet One More Reason To Stop Smoking

Smoking and Macular Degeneration

Everybody is well aware of the fact that smoking causes lung cancer but very few people are aware of the fact that puffing on cigarettes can actually cause macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of blindness. Thus, this is yet another reason to stop smoking.

Smoking and Macular Degeneration:

Cigarette contains tobacco, which when burnt or ignited gives out four thousand types of fatal substances including irritants, carcinogens and inflammatory agents. These chemicals have the tendency to get into the bloodstream of the person smoking the cigarettes. They then navigate their way inside the human body to the macula, which is situated at the back of the eye and damage it, thus resulting in macular degeneration.

The damage resulting from macular degeneration would cause the person to not be able to focus on the object or person they are looking at directly, like the face of the person he/she is talking to. It also limits the color vision of the individual. People tend to brush off this fact lightly and assume that laser surgery could fix this problem. The truth is that laser surgery cannot reverse the adverse effects and damage associated with macular degeneration caused due to excessive smoking. However, laser surgery can prevent the progression of the degeneration and even reduce visual loss, which isn’t enough for people because it cannot undo the damage.

Thus, it would make more sense to quit smoking in the first place. After all, we are blessed with just one pair of eyes to last a lifetime, so we might as well take good care of them. The worst thing about this is that chain smokers do not even realize that they have been victims of macular degeneration until the second eye starts to deteriorate. According to research, if the chain smokers live long enough, then one out of every four smokers would lose their vision owing to macular degeneration.

When asked about which sense would one fear losing the most, the most common answer would be the sense of sight - this is the conclusion of a survey conducted by Royal National Institute for the Blind. Therefore it is necessary to create more awareness of the strong connection or link between smoking and the risk of losing one’s sight due to age-related macular degeneration. There are many reasons that are compelling enough for people to contemplate about giving up, like cancer, stroke, heart disease, permanent damage to the lungs and so on. Macular degeneration is yet another reason in this already lengthy list.

Our eyes are one of the indispensible sense organs, but people generally tend to take their vision and eyes for granted. When you engage in smoking, it can drastically increase the chances of deteriorating your own vision. Smoking can cause visual impairments and even blindness, so it is best to quit smoking. Remember, every cigarette is doing you damage, so you might as well put it down and quit this nasty habit altogether.

There is actually no dearth of reasons to compel anyone to quit smoking but this is one of the lesser known after-effects and hence is classified as being ‘yet another reason’.

Reviewed By:

Dr. Kaushal M. Bhavsar (MBBS, MD)

Assistant Professor in Pulmonary Medicine, GMERS Medical College, Ahmedabad