As if anyone needed another reason to give up the smoking habit, new research suggests that smoking damages the eyes in a way that resembles the effects of the early stages of glaucoma. In particular, researchers focused on smoking’s effect on the retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL), which collects visual impulses from “photoreceptors” (light-sensitive cells known as “rods” and “cones”) and ganglion cells in the retina and transmits these impulses to the optic nerve. The RNFL of smokers who had smoked at least one pack of cigarettes a day for more than ten years was significantly thinner than that of non-smokers. This thinning is related to blind spots in the visual field, loss of peripheral vision, and even blindness.
This informative column about the effects that smoking has on eye health has been brought to you by MAYO EYE CENTER in the interest of better eye care. We pride ourselves on our specialty training and keeping up to date on the changes in medical care. We’re located at 2890 South Lamar Blvd. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 662.234.3937.
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