Smoking Can Cause Blindness
Mark Lynn | On 05, Mar 2019
It wasn’t until the 1950s and 1960s that smoking began to be linked to serious health issues (and later, confirmed to cause cancer). The days of doctors promoting the “health benefits” of smoking have been left to history. Now it is common knowledge that smoking causes congenital disabilities and immediate health risks with those who choose to inhale.
The Harmful Effects of Smoking
No, smoking doesn’t just give you lung cancer. It can get worse.
Now, a new study that evaluated health risks like lung cancer and heart disease, and other effects, says that excessive smoking can also lead to blindness. The study states that if a person smokes over 20 cigarettes – a pack a day – it can lead to blindness. Some heavy smokers smoke a pack and a half a day, putting themselves at even higher risk.
Rutgers University in New Jersey has been researching this. One of their published studies has shown that chronic tobacco smoking can lead to harmful impacts on eyesight. Namely, it can impact spatial awareness and colour interpretation.
Their study, published in the Journal of Psychiatry Research, illustrates how significant the changes were in smokers’ vision as the number of cigarettes consumed a day leaned towards a pack or more. The study found that significant changes were seen in smokers’ red-green and blue-yellow colour interpretation. This impact, with the correlation of consumed cigarettes, suggests that consuming substances with known neurotoxic chemicals (as are present in cigarettes) may very well cause overall colour vision loss, if not a significant detrimental change.
The study also found that heavy, excessive, smokers developed a reduced ability to discriminate contrasts and colours when compared to other non-smokers. Steven Silverstein from Rutgers Behavioural Health Care department, explains that the results indicate excessive tobacco addiction.
He goes on to explain in the research that cigarette smoke has compounds that are harmful to health, and can cause brain lesions. This, in turn, can lead to a decrease in activity in that part of the brain which processes vision.
In this particular study, the team examined people ranging in age from 25-45. They evaluated seventy-one relatively healthy people who smoked less than fifteen cigarettes in their entire lives to that of sixty-three people, who smoked over a pack of cigarettes (20) a day.
The Other Changes in Smokers
What the study was able to illustrate were the noticeable changes that those who smoked more heavily experienced in their red-green and blue-yellow colour vision when compared to relative non-smokers. Similar studies that have been conducted were also able to examine the long-term risk that smoking can cause that involve the eye.
Other studies have examined macular degeneration (otherwise known as “eye spots”) that can be linked to heavy smoking. It has also been pinpointed that heavy smoking is a factor that leads to the lens of the eye to yellow and becomes chronically inflamed.
If you were looking for a reason to quit smoking, you have just found another one.