Smokers ‘four times more likely to lose eyesight’

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Wednesday, March 21st, 2018

People who smoke are four times more likely to lose their eyesight than those who don’t, and twice as likely to develop eye disease. 

Research has shown that smokers are more likely to develop cataracts, which occur when the clear lens of the eye grows cloudy, leaving sufferers with hazy vision.



It will lead to blindness if left untreated.

Smoking is also linked to eye complications in people living with diabetes, cardiovascular problems and thyroid disease. 

Speaking to Newry Times, Raymond Curran, Head of Ophthalmic Services, Health and Social Care Board said, “People often say they fear losing their sight the most, of all their senses, yet few smokers realise that smoking can cause serious damage to the eye.



“Smokers also more than double their risk of developing macular (eye) disease, which is the most common cause of severe sight loss. This disease damages the light-sensing cells at the back of the eye and some forms of this disease cannot be treated.”

He continued, “There is hope for smokers though. Research has also shown that if a person quits smoking, they will be able to reduce their risk of developing eye disease.”




The Health and Social Care Board are urging smokers to look at the range of options available to help them quit.

Increasing numbers of optometrists are now offering advice and more than 650 pharmacies, GP surgeries, hospitals, community centres and workplaces across Northern Ireland also offer free stop smoking services.

For smokers wishing to quit, they can also find information online and order a ‘Quit Kit’ free of charge from the Public Health Agency’s ‘Want 2 Stop’ website, which will help with planning their quit attempt.



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