Smoking is a major factor contributing to the early development of age-related macular degeneration. Age-related macular degeneration is the most common cause of blindness in the Western world.
Recent studies have found a link between some common eye problems and cardiovascular (heart) disease. In particular, people with age-related macular degeneration were found to have double the risk of death from a heart attack or stroke than those without the condition.
Cigarette smoking speeds up the development of atherosclerotic plaques (collections of cholesterol and fat), in the walls of arteries. These are like porridge, gradually blocking arteries so that blood flow becomes limited.
Nicotine and carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke are thought to be important causes of arteries losing their elasticity. This means that arteries respond less well to fluctuations in pressure and are more likely to rupture.
How the eye is affected???
The macular area of the retina has the finest blood supply in the body, serving the retinal receptors that enable us to see minute detail clearly. Obstruction and failure of the blood supply to the macula happens even before other body functions may be affected. This blood vessel damage causes a gradual failure of vision. New vessel growth and leakage can result in scarring of the retina and severe vision loss.
The average age that people present with age-related macular degeneration in the first eye is about 65 years. The second eye becomes impaired at a rate of about 12 per cent each year and about 60 per cent of patients are legally blind in both eyes by their 70th birthday. There is no effective medical or surgical cure for age-related macular degeneration, but rehabilitation advice helps people to live more independently.
The impact of vision problems:
Age-related macular degeneration has extensive implications. People who have it:
Cannot read or see detail on the TV
Cannot easily recognise faces
Confuse medication labels and are at risk of other illnesses
Fall more easily and suffer more serious complications from falling
Lose independence and may require residential care earlier than if their vision was normal.
“Quitting smoking, is a way to ensure that good vision is maintained for as long as possible.”
Smoking kills. If you’re killed, you’ve lost a very important part of your life. – Brooke Shields
Smoking is a practice in which a substance is burned and the resulting smoke breathed in to be tasted and absorbed into the bloodstream. Most commonly the substance is the dried leaves of the tobacco plant which have been rolled into a small square of rice paper to create a small, round cylinder called a “cigarette”. Smoking is primarily practiced as a route of administration for recreational drug use because the combustion of the dried plant leaves vaporizes and delivers active substances into the lungs where they are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and reach bodily tissue. In the case of cigarette smoking these substances are contained in a mixture of aerosol particles and gasses and include the pharmacologically active alkaloid nicotine; the vaporization creates heated aerosol and gas to form that allows inhalation and deep penetration into the lungs where absorption into the bloodstream of the active substances occurs.
Nicotine is the addictive drug in tobacco smoke that causes smokers to continue to smoke. Addicted smokers need enough nicotine over a day to ‘feel normal’ – to satisfy cravings or control their mood. How much nicotine a smoker needs determines how much smoke they are likely to inhale, no matter what type of cigarette they smoke. Along with nicotine, smokers inhale about 7,000 other chemicals in cigarette smoke. Many of these chemicals come from burning tobacco leaf. Some of these compounds are chemically active and trigger profound and damaging changes in the body. Tobacco smoke contains over 60 known cancer-causing chemicals. Smoking harms nearly every organ in the body, causing many diseases and reducing health in general. Dangerous chemicals in tobacco smoke.