10 Ways Smoking Damages Your Eyes

The health problems associated with smoking are well documented and remains the leading cause of preventable death worldwide. The damaging effects it can have on your eyes and ultimately your vision are often not talked about.

Research has shown tobacco use can contribute to certain vision threatening conditions. If you continue to smoke here’s 10 ways lighting up can affect your eyes.

  1. Cataracts – Smoking doubles the risk of changes to the lens of the eye resulting in cloudy vision. Correcting this issue requires undergoing surgery to correct this issue.
  2. Age related Macular Degeneration – Age related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in those over 65 years of age. But did you know that smoking triples the risk of this disease and increases its severity.
  3. Glaucoma – Another leading cause of blindness is Glaucoma and your chances of developing primary open angle glaucoma increase if you continue to smoke tobacco.
  4. Diabetic Retinopathy ( for those with diabetes ) – Smoking increases your risk of developing diabetes and the accompanying complications. This includes potential blinding changes to the blood vessels of the eye.
  5. Dry Eyes – The irritating effects of smoking can cause eyes to become dry and itchy
  6. Problems Wearing Contact Lenses – The resulting dry eyes caused by smoking can make wearing contact lenses uncomfortable. Continued wear with the dry eyes could lead to corneal ulceration which can cause blindness.
  7. Uveitis – The inflammation of uveitis can lead to cataracts and glaucoma and the chances of developing this condition is doubled in smokers.
  8. Graves Disease – Another little known consequence of smoking is the your chances of developing thyroid disease are increased.
  9. Birth Defects – Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of having a baby with lazy eye and birth defects involving the eye.
  10.  Second Hand Smoke – Those around you can be affected by dry eyes and the discomfort it can cause contact lens wearers as well.

Smokers especially should have an annual comprehensive eye exam. Our Optometrists in Calgary can detect and treat any issues to keep your eyes healthy. Book your eye exam today.

Are Computer Screens Making Your Eyes Work Harder

Patients visiting Optometrists are increasingly complaining of irritated and tired eyes. Everyone from grandparents to kids are experiencing the effects of the digital world we live in. People who spend a lot of time staring at their computer screens, smartphones and video game monitors can suffer from eye strain.

The reasons are pretty simple:

  • When you look at a digital device you tend to hold it closer than a book or newspaper which forces your eyes to work harder.
  • You’re less likely to blink as often and eye strain can be the result.
  • The eye muscles have to work to continually focus moving back and forth lining up with what you see onscreen, looking down at papers then back to type. Your eyes also battle screen contrast, flicker and glare.

The results can be neck, head or back pain. Your eyes may feel tired, painful, burning with redness. Double vision or problems focusing can be another result.

We have some great tips to help your eyes function better in this digital world and some minor changes will allow you to continue to enjoy your digital devices.

  • Place digital and computer screens 20 to 26 inches away from your eyes. Keep the monitor bright and consider getting a glare filter.
  • Follow the 20-20-20 rule to relax your eye muscles. Every 20 minutes focus on an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
  • Be aware of the way you hold your neck and shoulders, keep them relaxed, the tension here can cause tension in your eyes.
  • Blink more frequently, a healthy habit for your eyes.
  • If you wear eyeglasses and work at a computer get anti glare lenses and especially if your children wear eyeglasses.
  • Use artificial tear drops at night.

Our eyes have to work much harder now so a few small changes can eliminate the resulting eye strain.

We hope the tips above will help the health of your eyes. For any other eye issues, book an appointment today with our Calgary Optometrists.