In addition to its other deficiencies, smoking significantly increases the risk of blindness.
If it were not already enough make-ling reasons to quit smoking, think about the risk to your vision. While it is well known that smoking can cause cancer, heart disease and stroke, until recently there was little awareness of the fact that smoking can cause serious and permanent vision loss.
Over time, I lamented the fact that Canada did not have the requirements, the packaging of cigarettes carry warnings about smoking and blindness. Cigarette packaging and in other countries – such as Australia, for example – had the message “Smoking causes blindness” for some time. But on June 19, my desire is fulfilled. New rules for tobacco products, labeling in Canada means that, as of June 19, retailers can only legally sell cigarettes, which reflect the new health warnings, including the fact that smoking increases the risk of blindness.
Warnings are not shy. In fact, the rules state that a warning should be graphical and cover 75 percent of the front and back of cigarette and little cigar-pack-age. The risk of blindness prevention includes graphic photos of a needle being injected into the eye. Warning about the risk of blindness in particular points to the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is the leading cause of vision loss in Canada 50 years or older.
AMD damages the macula, the central part of the retina responsible for fine detail (such as reading print or seeing faces). People with AMD in the overall experience blurred central vision and growth of the central blind spot. While there is no cure for AMD, there are procedures that can slow the progression of the disease, and in some cases, to restore limited vision. These procedures are called anti-VEGFs (vascular endothelial growth factor) drugs, which are introduced into the eye to stop the growth of abnormal blood vessels. These injections should be given every four to six weeks, and sometimes for two years or longer.
We have known for some time that smoking is a major risk factor for AMD. Smokers are four times the risk of developing AMD compared to non-smokers or former smokers. Smokers can also develop the disease about 10 years earlier than nonsmokers. How much do you smoke also affect the risk of AMD. People who smoke more, have a higher risk of developing AMD, than those who smoke less, and the disease is likely to go from dry AMD to wet AMD in people who smoke. Exposure to secondhand smoke also contributes to the risk of developing AMD.
Output can make a difference. Studies show that the risk for AMD’s son will be reduced each year they do not smoke, so that after 20 years the risk is that some who have never smoked. In addition to AMD, smoking is a risk factor for cataract and vision loss in diabetic retinopathy (retinal damage due to diabetes). Cataract, although they can be removed, can cause blurred vision and sensitivity to glare. And while diabetic retinopathy often has no symptoms in its early stages, it can go to the unrecoverable loss of vision and even blindness if left untreated.
The fact is, 75% of vision loss can be prevented or treated. In addition to smoking cessation, healthy eating, exercise regularly and protect your eyes from ultraviolet rays are all great ways to save not only his vision of health and general health.
I hope that those people who still smoke will consider new warnings about the risk of vision loss. They should know that living with vision loss can be life-changing. Clinical depression is three times more common in people with vision loss compared with the general population. Seniors with vision loss face twice the risk of falls and hip fractures four times. And older Canadians, who lose their sight, often live in social isolation, and their families may pay a high personal and financial cost to provide adequate medical care. People, who develop loss of vision, are often forced to retire early, or they may lose their jobs and are forced to rely on disability benefits. In some cases, they were forced to sell their homes to pay for treatment they need.
Thus, if the known risks associated with smoking, not enough to make you quit smoking, think about the consequences of vision loss. Dr. Keith Gordon, vice president for research at CNIB. CNIB is a registered charity that provides emotional and practical support to people who are blind or partially seen throughout Canada.