How Quitting Smoking in 2016 Can Improve Your Eye Health
2016 is finally here – and that means you may have made a few resolutions when the clocks struck midnight on New Year’s Eve. If one of your resolutions was to stop smoking over the coming year, congratulations! You’ve definitely taken that first step toward improving your quality of life and reclaiming your health.
In addition to all the great benefits associated with quitting smoking (think better skin, teeth, improved heart health, better lung function, decreased risks for cancer), ditching the cigarettes can also significantly improve your long-term eye health.
When you’re younger, smoking might not seem like such a big deal, especially when you’re in your teens and twenties. However, even a youthful smoking habit has the potential to set you up for deadly diseases in your senior years, including cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). In the latter case, toxins from cigarettes and secondhand smoke contribute to the breakdown of the eye’s macula, which is responsible for helping you see clearly. Symptoms of AMD include:
- Vision distortion
- Dark spots
In severe cases, AMD can lead to permanent vision loss, which can significantly impact your quality of life. Seniors with poor vision are more likely to be injured in household accidents, as well as suffer from depression.
Cataracts develop when the eye’s lens becomes clouded and murky. This cloudiness distorts light rays, making it difficult for someone to see clearly. Smoking can directly cause cataracts due to the toxins in cigarette smoke, which irritate and eventually cloud up the eye lens. Cataract symptoms can include:
- Blurry or dim vision
- Difficulty seeing at night
- Seeing halos around lights (especially at night)
- Sensitivity to light and glare
If left untreated, severe cataracts can lead to permanent vision loss and even total blindness.
Do your eye health a favor – make 2016 the year you finally commit to putting out those cigarettes. If you need more reasons to quit smoking, schedule an appointment with
Dr. Jacqueline Griffiths at NewView Eye Center in Reston, Virginia. Dr. Griffiths can help pinpoint damage from smoking, as well as explain risks associated with this toxic habit.
NewView Eye Center also serves the greater Washington, DC areas. Call 703-834-9777 to learn more today.