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The Adverse Effects of Smoking on Your Visual Health Hero

The Adverse Effects of Smoking on Your Visual Health

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Eye problems can be added to the many negative effects of heavy smoking. In this post, eye doctor clinic Park Slope Eye shares a closer look at how smoking can affect your vision.

The Adverse Effects of Smoking on Your Visual Health

Damage to Color and Contrast Vision

The results of a study published in the journal Psychiatry Research indicate that heavy smoking can damage color and contrast vision. The sample consisted of 63 people who smoked more than 20 cigarettes a day, and 71 participants who had smoked fewer than 15 cigarettes in their lives. All participants had normal or corrected-to-normal vision.

The study results revealed a significant change in red-green and blue-yellow color vision among the participants that were heavy smokers. Difficulty in discriminating contrasts and colors were likewise observed.

Other Risks to Vision Caused by Smoking

Smoking contributes to other vision-related conditions, such as:

  • Dry Eye Syndrome — This condition is caused by not having enough tears to lubricate your eyes. It can make the use of contact lenses difficult.

  • Cataracts — A leading cause of blindness worldwide, cataracts cause blurry vision and color desaturation. Smoking increases the risk of cataract formation.

  • Age-Related Macular Degeneration — Damage to the macula, the part of the retina responsible for high-resolution vision under visible light, can result in loss of central vision. Studies show that smokers are at an increased risk of developing AMD, which, currently, does not have a known cure.

  • Diabetic Retinopathy — Smokers who happen to be diabetics have increased risk of getting diabetic retinopathy, caused by damaged blood vessels. This leads to blurry or distorted vision, even blindness.

  • Glaucoma — Among the various types of smoking-related risks to vision, glaucoma is at the forefront. The optic nerve connects the eye to the brain and damage to it can lead to blindness.

  • Uveitis — The uvea is the middle layer of the eye wall. Inflammation of the uvea is called uveitis, which is characterized by red eyes, pain, and vision problems. Studies have shown that smoking contributes to uveitis.

Park Slope Eye is your leading provider of eye care services, including vision therapy. Give us a call at (347) 380-7070 or fill out our contact form. We serve customers in Park Slope and nearby areas in Brooklyn, NY.


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  • Written by Justin Bazan

    Dr. Justin Bazan is a 2004 SUNY College of Optometry graduate. He established Park Slope Eye in 2008 with the goal of providing high quality eyecare and incredible eyewear for the neighborhood. He has a true passion for optometry and stay up to date with the current research and trends. He is active in the profession and holds several leadership positions on the local, state and national levels. Dr. Bazan is a Park Slope local and can often be seen out in the neighborhood so be sure to say Hi next time you see him!

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