One way to reduce the possibility of becoming prone to Age related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is by not smoking. People who smoke are three to four times more likely to develop AMD than people who don’t smoke. However, non-smokers who live with smokers almost double their risk of becoming susceptible to AMD, according to Mahipal S. Sachdev, chairperson and managing director at the city-based Centre for Sight.
With an alarming growth in eye-related diseases in India, ophthalmologists have said the habit of smoking is emerging as one of the chief causes of the loss of vision among people. However, only 10-20 percent of people know about it.
As per the observation of doctors, various studies have shown that smoking augments the risk of age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataract, dry eye syndrome and diabetic retinopathy.
Macular degeneration leads to a loss in the centre of the field of vision. In dry macular degeneration, the centre of the retina worsens. With the degeneration of wet macular, leaky blood vessels grow under the retina.
He further elaborated by saying that AMD is marked by a loss of central vision, thus making it difficult to read and look for fine details. Gradually, loss of vision increases considerably.
Sachdev said loss of vision because of smoking does not show any such signs and symptoms like many other eye diseases; however, a dilated study can identify eye diseases in their initial stages before loss of vision occurs. Some other forms of problems related with eye caused by excessive smoking include glaucoma and cataract.
According to Sachdev, people who smoke excessively, around 10 cigarettes every day, become three times susceptible to developing the risk of cataract as non-smokers. Likewise, there is a strong connection between smoking and glaucoma, Sachdev said.
The doctor said by adding that it’s time to go up to a professional for help if any smoker discovers that straight lines become wavy, blurred or faded vision, or problem observing things in the distance, or faces or words on a page or continuous dripping of water from your eyes.
“One of the major areas that need to be emphasised for all smokers includes eating healthy. Protecting eyes start with a healthy balanced diet. Nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, zinc and vitamins C and E might help ward off age-related vision problems such as macular degeneration and cataract due to smoking,” she said