A cataract is formed when the natural lens inside the eye starts to become hazy and eventually clouds over. The result is much like looking through a foggy windscreen.
While cataracts can be associated with ageing; smokers typically develop cataracts earlier in life. Some smokers will develop cataracts in their forties and fifties, as opposed to the natural cataract formation that happens much later, in a person’s seventies and eighties.
As cataracts grow, the eyesight prescription changes, often requiring frequent changes to glasses or contact lenses. Eventually, the only option to improve vision is cataract surgery.
The macula is a normal structure in the back of the eye, which provides detailed central vision. The macula is responsible for allowing us to read, see fine details, drive and recognise faces.
Grab a book and look slightly off centre; using your peripheral vision only you’ll find it is incredibly difficult to read it. Similarly, macular degeneration affects your ability to see detail, which can be devastating.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for macular degeneration. Whilst there is some evidence that lifestyle changes, such as nutrition, UV protection and smoking cessation can help to halt progression; macular degeneration is irreversible.
Smokers have four times the risk of developing macular degeneration and may develop it 10 years earlier than non-smokers.
The thyroid is a small gland in the neck that produces hormones to ensure that the body and organs work as they should, and this includes the eyes.
Smoking can damage the thyroid, causing thyroid eye disease. The disease produces a range of symptoms from dry eyes, protruding eyes, or swollen eyelids to double vision and optic neuropathy.
Smokers are four times more likely to suffer thyroid eye disease than non-smokers.