Today is National No Smoking Day, a day that brings awareness and education to encourage smokers to kick the habit! It takes place every 2nd Wednesday in March annually and this year the campaign is supported by Action on smoking and health (ASH) and Breathe 2025, as well as Public Health England.
There are many health benefits to quitting smoking, especially when it comes to your eyes. Stopping smoking is one of the best steps you can take to protect your vision.
Smoking significantly increases your chances of developing eye diseases or even vision loss and blindness.
The 3 most common eye conditions related to smokers are:
- Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
AMD is the most common cause of sight loss in the UK. Smokers are up to 4x more likely to develop the condition than those who don’t smoke. AMD affects the central part of your vision. There are two types of AMD – wet AMD, which can usually be treated with injections in the eye, and dry AMD, for which there is currently very little effective treatment. AMD can be diagnosed easily by ophthalmologists using retinal imaging devices. These devices take a detailed high quality image of the back of the eye – or retina, to see any anomalies or pathologies. You can see our product range of retinal imagining devices of fundus cameras, here. These include products such as the Eidon, DRSplus and HOCT.
Smoking can double the risk of developing cataracts  , which cause the lens inside your eye to become cloudy. Smoking causes cataracts to develop more rapidly than normal. Once a cataract has developed, surgery can be used to replace the clouded lens with a clear plastic one. Our anterior segment OCT, the CASIA2, allows consultants to gather detailed measurements and information to aid this surgery. You can find out more about the Tomey CASIA2 anterior segment OCT here.
- Dry eye
Dry eye can make your eyes feel sore and itchy and cause them to water. Smoking often causes this condition or makes it worse, due to smoke blowing into and around the eyes. Second hand smoke from being around smokers can cause this too.
The best way to avoid these conditions is to stop smoking and have regular eye tests (once every 2 years on average for non-smokers.)