Today May 31 is World No Tobacco Day, a day promoted by the World Health Organization (WHO) with the aim of informing the population about the dangers of tobacco use. Smoking is already the main avoidable cause of death in the world and, although society knows the consequences of tobacco smoke for the body, many people do not know that this can also affect the eyes and cause vision loss. The toxins that are inhaled when smoking go to the bloodstream and are distributed throughout the body, even in the eyes. This can cause different ocular problems, such as cataracts, dry eye syndrome, age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), diabetic retinopathy and problems in the optic nerve. Many of these cases can even end in blindness if they are not treated in time.
What are the risk groups?
One of the groups with the highest risk among smokers are diabetics. These are more likely to suffer from diabetic retinopathy, which occurs when the blood vessels of the eye are damaged. Smoking, in addition, is especially contraindicated for people suffering from dry eye, since the lack of tears that suffer have to add that the smoke enhances the dryness and eye irritation.
But tobacco does not affect only internally. Tobacco smoke can also affect the tissues around the eyes and create pockets, generate irritation and inflammation.
Smoking is also especially contraindicated during pregnancy, as it can cause premature birth and increase the chances of the baby suffering from a visual disorder known as retinopathy of prematurity. This disorder occurs when the blood vessels of the newborn’s retina have not developed normally, which could lead to retinal detachment and, in some cases, blindness.
World No Tobacco Day
Today’s conference also aims to disseminate the commercial practices of tobacco companies and the initiatives coordinated by WHO to fight against smoking, as well as to publicize everything that people can do to claim their right to health and to a healthy life. Another objective is to protect future generations from tobacco consumption, which currently kills almost 6 million people around the world, more than 600 thousand of whom are passive smokers.