Most people are aware that smoking is bad for your health. It’s linked to heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and other cancers throughout the body, including the kidneys, bladder, throat, mouth and more. Researchers have also known for some time that smoking also poses a higher risk for the development of cataracts in the eyes. This may be due to the fact that smoking damages the proteins in the eye lens, which can promote cataract development.
Now research has surfaced to strengthen the link between smoking and the need for cataract removal. A study followed 44,371 Swedish men age 45-79 that completed a questionnaire on smoking habits and lifestyle factors in 1997. The study found that:
- Smoking 15 cigarettes a day raised the risk of needing cataract surgery by 42% (compared with those in the study group who had never smoked)
- Quitting smoking decreased the need for cataract surgery
- The longer and more intensely people smoke, the longer it takes for the lens to repair protein damage caused by cataracts (thus, the longer it takes to decrease the need for cataract surgery)
Smoking is also linked to other eye diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration and more.
Harvard Eye Associates encourages all of our patients to take the necessary steps to stop smoking, especially before and after cataract surgery. We provide laser-based cataract surgery in Orange County to help patients improve their vision with cataract removal and replacement Intraocular Lenses (IOLs), including premium cataract IOLs (Lifestyle IOLs in Orange County). But smoking after cataract surgery recovery may hinder the healing process and make it take much longer than necessary to resume your normal activities.
If you are a smoker and think you may have cataracts, contact Harvard Eye Associates today to schedule a Cataract Consultation in Orange County. We can assess your situation and provide information to help you get your overall health and eye health in order. Call 949-951-2020.