One More Reason To Quit: Smoking Can Cause Blindness

If you (like me) are always looking for that one reason to quit smoking that’ll finally tip the scales in favor of a smoke-free lifestyle, maybe the risk of blindness can be yours. According to the CNIB, aside from the risk of cancer, smoking can also have severely detrimental effects to your vision as well.

According to the Sacramento Bee, in Canada, on June 19th, retailers will only be able to legally sell packs of cigarettes if they sport a new health warning: risk of blindness. You see, smoking contributes to age-related macular degeneration (AMD, which is the leading cause of vision loss in Canadians over 50 years of age. “We know that primary and second-hand smoke from cigarettes is a major risk factor for AMD,” said Dr. Keith Gordon, CNIB’s Vice-President of Research. “If you smoke you are up to three to four times more likely to develop AMD.”

For years, Dr. Gordon “personally bemoaned” the fact that Canada hadn’t included this health risk on packs of cigarettes. While the U.S. doesn’t carry this requirement, many other countries, like Australia, do. “Quitting can make a difference,” Gordon said. “Studies indicate that a person’s risk for AMD will decrease each year they don’t smoke, so that after 20 years the risk is equal to that of someone who has never smoked.”

Good news for smokers all over the world, since AMD’s damage to the central retina pretty much destroys one’s vision by making it blurry and adding a central blind spot. Smoking can also cause you to develop cataracts, and do additional damage if you have diabetes. To sweeten the pot even further, clinical depression three times more common in people with loss of vision.

“If there weren’t already compelling enough reasons for you to quit smoking, think about the risk to your vision,” urged Dr. Gordon.

If you’re looking for more science-y details about smoking and how it can damage your vision, click here.