Eye experts stress that smoking is one of the most harmful lifestyle habits for the health of the eyes
26 May 2016 (Dubai, United Arab Emirates): An expert team from Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai will support the Wellness Program Event in Dubai Healthcare City organized by DHCC marking the annual World No Tobacco Day on May 31st. The hospital team will provide free basic vision screening (distance/near sight) and eye pressure tests for the public.
Moorfields will also highlight the serious health risks posed by smoking to eyes and vision – the simple message is that smoking is one of the most harmful lifestyle habits for an individual’s health including the health of their eyes.
The World Health Organization states that the tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced, killing around 6 million people a year. More than 5 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while more than 600,000 are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.
According to the Royal National Institute of Blind People, smoking causes harm to the tissues of the eye. Research has confirmed the harmful effects of smoking on eyesight,particularly in the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) – a leading cause of sight loss – and cataracts. Smokers double their risk of developing AMD, and tend to develop it earlier than non-smokers. Treatment options for AMD are limited but stopping smoking can reduce the risk of macular degeneration developing.
Smoking is also linked to the development of cataracts, and although they are treatable and therefore do not lead to blindness, they remain a major cause of sight loss in the UK. Smoking can make diabetes related sight problems worse.
Passive smoking is almost as harmful as first hand smoking.
Everyone should have a regular eye examination with a qualified ophthalmologist to maintain good eye health – not just the quality of the vision but to check the overall health of the eye (the eye can also reveal health issues in other parts of the body). Most adults should have a sight test every two years and an ophthalmic practitioner will advise if eyes need testing more frequently.
Professor Robert Scott, Medical Director, Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai, says: “It is a fact that smoking is one of the most harmful lifestyle habits for your health, including your eyes which means that for millions of people worldwide, stopping – or even better, not starting – smoking is probably the most effective way of protecting your general health and your eyesight. World No Tobacco Day is the perfect opportunity to stress this important public health message – and for smokers to stop.”
Other lifestyle habits influencing the health of the body generally, including the eyes, are diet, and a vitamin-rich diet including fruit and vegetables is a positive lifestyle choice. For people with diabetes, more regular eye screening is essential because of the greater risk of potentially serious eye complications. Any unusual symptoms such as cloudy vision, blurred images, floating spots and loss of vision, should be discussed with an ophthalmologist. Most causes of poor vision in children are easily corrected if they are picked up and treated in time, from birth until about 8 years of age; checking the eyes during this period is important.