Health Watch -- Watch Your Eyes: Smoke in Your Eyes

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications  and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

This week on Health Watch, were talking about protecting your vision. Weve been discussing how important it is to shield your eyes from hazards and from sunlight. But what you put into your body could also affect your vision. If you smoke, you could be increasing your risk for blindness. Researchers have found a link between smoking and age-related macular degeneration, which is one of the leading causes of blindness.

Dr. Yu-Guang He, an ophthalmologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says smoking increases production of free radicals that can damage the retina. Smoking also decreases the flow of blood and oxygen to eye tissues. Age and genetics are major risk factors for macular degeneration, but there are also possible lifestyle factors, such as smoking and diet. Stopping or avoiding smoking is one thing you can control that affects your risk for blindness.


November 2006

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