Smoking and your Eyes
The health risks associated with smoking are well documented and are now widely known. According to the United States Surgeon General, quitting smoking is the single most important step a smoker can take to improve the length and quality of his or her life. Smoking adversely affects virtually every organ system in the human body, not just the lungs.
These risks are illuminated by the following facts:
- Approximately one million people die every year from smoking related lung cancer and pulmonary disease.
- Nearly two million people die prematurely every year from smoking related heart disease.
- Smoking significantly increases the risk of many other diseases and cancers including: cervical cancer, mouth and throat cancer, pancreatic cancer, acute leukemia, renal and urinary tract cancer, skin cancer, and stomach cancer.
- Cigarettes cause approximately 20% of all deaths in the USA. Many people fail to realize that smoking also adds significantly to the risk of vision problems.
- Smoking accelerates the loss of vision associated with macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in the USA.
The risk of developing macular degeneration is 2 to 3 times higher in smokers than in those who have never smoked. Although this disease is incurable and generally unresponsive to any known therapy, smokers with macular degeneration can significantly reduce their risk of progressive vision loss if they stop smoking. Smokers also develop cataracts at an accelerated rate compared with nonsmokers. Most smokers want to quit because they understand the risks and the adverse impact of smoking on the quality of their lives. Many have tried and failed. However, smokers now have good reason to be optimistic because there are many effective programs and tools available to help with smoking cessation. For the first time in history the USA now has more former smokers than smokers.
If you are interested in joining the ranks of former smokers, please visit the following websites for more information on how you can get help: