Smoking and the Eye
Now well in place, the ban on smoking in public places, offices and shops appears to have caused an initial drop in the number of smokers, especially the occasional social smoker. It is likely to cause a lot of smokers to wonder if this might just be the motivator that helps them give up forever, after standing in the cold outside the local pub.
Strangely there have been strong reasons in health for some time that do not seem to have deterred the hardened or even social smoker, namely the link between smoking and lung cancer. Perhaps it is the finality of the disease that allows the smoker to take a gamble. “Either I’m one of the lucky ones or I’m unlucky and die.” Well now in our opinion there is a new and proven link which is far more worrying than the lottery of lung cancer, it is blindness.
Yes, over recent years there is now a proven link between smoking and Aged Related Macular Degeneration, (ARMD…see our page on ARMD). Because many of us are living to an older age and ARMD is more prevalent as we grow older, it is one of the main causes of blindness in the UK, and it is now proven that smokers double the risk of being part of that community. Loss of sight is particularly difficult for the elderly it being the one time in life when less mobility is countered by the ability to read books, watch television and enjoy visits and socialising.
If you think it has become a nuisance finding places to smoke just consider the terrible effects blindness or loss of sight could bring to bear in your later life. Around 500,000 people in the UK have AMD and an estimated 54,000 people have the condition as a result of smoking, these being the smokers who have escaped the many life threatening conditions that smoking causes only to lose sight in their later years..
The benefits of quitting smoking are very real. Studies have shown that people who stopped smoking 20 years ago have a similar risk of developing AMD as non-smokers, and that the risk starts to decrease after ten years of not smoking.
You only have one pair of eyes, so look after them.