Smoking and the Risk of Cataracts By William Goldstein on October 26, 2012

Smoke emanating from a cigarette or any other tobacco compound contains over 2000 toxic compounds that are very dangerous to the eye. Smoking any tobacco product can cause and worsen several eye disorders, especially cataracts and other age related eye problems. The damage to the eyes can be reduced and in some cases can even be reversed if a smoker quits smoking.


What is a cataract?


Cataracts cloud the eye lens, which can blur the vision of the person and also lead to a permanent blindness if untreated. There are several different elements that can lead to the formation of a cataract, with the most common factor being age and the rest including hypertension, prolonged exposure to radiation or ultraviolet light, and also smoking. As there are no treatments to prevent or reverse the development of cataract, cataract surgery in Detroit is the best solution.


Smoking, a risk factor


Health reports suggest that smoking is a causal factor behind 20% of all cataract cases in the United States. It is also one of the most easily avoidable factors. Several studies conducted suggest that extensive smoking increases the risk of nuclear cataract. This condition affects the nucleus of the lens rendering it the most difficult form of cataract to be removed surgically. Even though a surgery can be successfully conducted by using LASIK and replacing the lens with a Crystalens or a ReStor lens in Detroit, a little precaution can do you no harm.


The studies say that smokers who smoke over 25 cigarettes a day have a greater chance of developing a nuclear cataract compared to light smokers or non-smokers. The risk of cataract in a smoker increase with his age and the quantity of tobacco he smokes.


Smoking and mechanism of cataract


It is not very clear as to the exact mechanism behind the formation of cataracts due to smoking. However, it is a well-known fact that tobacco smoke is one of the leading contaminants that can harm and destroy antioxidants. It is also known that antioxidants help maintain the transparency in the eye. Also smoking can effectively increase cadmium levels in the eye lenses can lead to the breaking of several crucial enzymes and cause oxidative injuries to the eyes. Tobacco smoking can also lead several other critical nutrients to undergo undesirable reactions that can damage or injure the eye tissue.


Public awareness regarding the harmful effects of smoking on the eye is very low. Many people think that smoking only causes lung and heart problems. But the smoke particles get mixed in the blood stream via the lungs and travel to the entire body. As a result smoking causes numerous problems not only to the eye but also to the other parts of the body.

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Dr. William S. Goldstein

Laser Eye Care Center

William S. Goldstein, MD, has been practicing laser eye surgery since 1991. He was one of the first doctors to offer advanced eye care in all of Michigan and is a member of several prestigious organizations: 

  • American Board of Ophthalmology
  • American Academy of Ophthalmology
  • American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons

If you are ready to enhance your vision, call our office at (586) 323-2020 or request a consultation online.

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