By Dr. Minija. C.K, Senior consultant Medical Retina Cataract & Uvea, Sankara Eye Hospital Bangalore
As we are preparing to mark World No Tobacco Day on 31st May 2018, here’s another reason to quit smoking: Your Eyes.
We are all aware of the fact that smoking is injurious to the body but less aware of its harmful effects of smoking on vision. The smoke generated by smoking a cigarette, a pipe or any other tobacco products can cause a severe damage to the individual who is smoking and also people around who are exposed to the smoke.
Usually, cancers and cardiovascular disorders are caused due to the tobacco and smoke exposure, but we are unaware of the detrimental effect smoking can cause on our vision. Smoking has been linked directly to two leading causes of vision loss, macular degeneration, and cataract. Researchers also believe that smoking contributes to a range of eye-related problems for both smokers and passive smokers including adults and children.
Women who smoke are more likely to give birth prematurely, putting their babies at risk for developing a disease called Retinopathy of prematurity which is one of the causes of vision loss in babies if not treated.
The smoke of cigarette is extremely toxic which contains as many as 4,000 active compounds that include tar, polycyclic, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde and heavy metals. It increases age-related eye problems like macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, dry- eye syndrome and Optic neuropathy. Not just smokers it also affects the non- smokers where they are usually exposed to eye irritation and burning sensations.
Tips to prevent vision loss:
- Quit Smoking
- Eat healthy foods a lot of green leafy vegetables and fruits high in Vitamin C, E, and beta-carotene.
- Exercise regularly
- Maintain normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Remedies to quit smoking:
· Eliminate Triggers: The decision to quit smoking is one of the toughest situations, but ensure you thoroughly clean the house and cars and remove all aliments prompting you to smoke like ashtrays, cigarettes, odours etc.
· Rework on your routine: Planning up a proper schedule to keep away from smoking is very important. You may have built-in smoke breaks in between works, try avoiding such which leads you to more cravings.
· Find a healthy snack food you can carry with you: Substitute smoking with a good snack like sugar- free lollipops, gum, celery sticks, sunflower seeds etc. All these would help you quit smoking and divert yourself from the cravings.
· Try a cup of herbal tea: Tea acts as a major stress release and the act of brewing and sipping down the tea slowly helps in providing stress relief to an individual.
· Start a healthy hobby: Develop a new hobby like running, swimming, gaming etc which helps you stay focused and avoids your diversions towards cig.