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Smokers are blind to the risk of sight loss

Lose the habit, not your sight

13.5% (approximately 5.5 million) of all adults smoked cigarettes in the first quarter of 2020 in England, compared to 13.9% in 2019. During the remainder of 2020, 12.1% of adults in England smoked cigarettes.¹

Each year around 78,000 people in the UK die from smoking. Many other end up living with debilitating illnesses related to smoking. Smoking simply increases your risk of developing over 50 serious health conditions.²

 

Damage caused by toxins in tobacco smoke dramatically increases a smoker's risk of developing a range of sight-threatening eye conditions. Simply lighting up a cigarette more than doubles your risk of suffering Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) - the UK's leading cause of blindness, glaucoma and nuclear cataracts.

And, if you already have a genetic predisposition to it, a smoker's chances of developing AMD are a staggering 100 times greater than that of a non-smoker3.

Smoking can also leave your eyes feeling permanently dry, sore and irritated and chemical poisoning of the optic nerve will impair your colour vision, leaving every day activities such as driving potentially hazardous.

All too often smokers don't notice the damage smoking has caused to their eyes until their vision has been irreversibly lost, so we're joining forces with the Eyecare Trust to mark National No Smoking Day by urging smokers to lose the habit and not their sight!

Early detection of conditions such as AMD, cataracts and glaucoma is vital to ensure permanent sight loss is minimised so regular eye examinations, once every two years, are particularly important if you smoke.

The good news for everyone who successfully quits the habit is the increased risks of sight loss associated with smoking do begin to reduce over time - a person who stopped smoking 20 years ago will now have the same risk of developing AMD as a non-smoker.

90% of smokers are unaware of the link between smoking and blindness
90% of smokers are unaware of the link between smoking and blindness

Around half of all smokers in England try to quit smoking unaided simply using willpower alone. A staggering 60% of smokers do wish to quit, 10% of those intend to do so within 3 months.*

The Bidwell study found fear of blindness has been shown to be as compelling a reason to stop smoking as fear of lung cancer, heart disease and strokes.

Tobacco smoke contains more than 4,000 different chemicals including tar, arsenic and ammonia.

Log-on to www.nosmokingday.org.uk for more information about National No Smoking Day. Visit www.eyecaretrust.org.uk for more information about how smoking can affect your vision or for more information please do not hesitate to contact us.


Sources:
¹ ons.gov.uk, ² NHS.uk, ³ Macularsociety.org, * Gov.uk

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