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Quit Smoking & Prevent 5 Eye Diseases

Did you know that smoking kills your eyesight? You may need to consider quitting soon!

According to The Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, 49% of men and 34% of women in South Africa are smokers. Though the detrimental effects of smoking to your overall health is well-documented, many South Africans are unaware of the damage smoking does to the eyes. If you quit smoking, Vision Works says you’re most likely to prevent the following eye diseases and disorders:

  1. Infant Eye Disease – Smoking is highly discouraged for pregnant women, as it transmits dangerous toxins to the placenta and may potentially cause harm to the unborn baby. Complications include strabismus (crossed eyes), as well as the potential of an underdeveloped optic nerve which can lead to blindness in children.
  2. Uveitis – Uveitis is an inflammation of the eye’s middle layer, known as the uvea. This disease is very serious, and may result in complete loss of vision. This condition mainly causes harm in the vital structure of the eye, which includes the retina and the iris. Such extensive damage to the eye increases the likelihood of glaucoma, cataracts and retinal detachment.
  3. Macular Degeneratio – Smoking may also lead to age-related macular degeneration which affects the centre of the retina. The retina is responsible for our sharp, central vision which is needed for everyday tasks. ‘Blind spots’ are caused by macular degeneration and this severely affects the central vision. Studies have shown that smokers are more at risk of having macular degeneration than an average older-aged adult who doesn’t smoke. The risk of macular degeneration decreases rapidly when a person quits smoking at any age.
  4. Cataracts – The cause of clouding in the eye’s natural lens is known as cataracts, and it is the leading cause of blindness in the world. Studies have shown that smokers double their chances of forming cataracts and the more a person smokes, the higher the risk.
  5. Diabetic Retinopathy – This disease damages the blood vessels of the retina and results in vision loss over time. Research has shown that most people aged 40 and above with diabetes have this disease, which may result in damage in the eye. Less smoking – to no smoking at all – may be the best remedy for people who are diabetic as it could reduce the risk of obtaining the disease and the extensive damage that may be caused over time.

The probability of developing any of the above conditions can be significantly decreased by taking that brave step to love your eyes enough to quit smoking. Regular eye checkups are recommended, as early detection often results in effective treatment. If you experience any symptoms that lead you to suspect you may have any of the above conditions, or just want to find out more about how to take care of your eyes, Vision Works strongly recommends that you visit your trusted optometrist in order to receive the proper care your eyes deserve.

Source: Vision Works. Image: Pixabay.

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Hlulani Masingi

Hlulani Masingi, also known as Hlulz; is a young, vibrant and witty black South African Tsonga woman with a solid education and seven years media experience. She graduated at the University of the Witwatersrand with a Bachelors Degree in Media Studies and English Literature and Honours Degree in Media Studies and is currently pursuing her Masters Degree in African Languages and Linguistics in the Media at the same institution.

Born in Johannesburg and raised at ka-Mhinga, an underpriviledged village in Limpopo, Hlulani is a determined individual and regardless of her impoverished background, she has a variety of interests that include PR, Communications, Marketing and Events, her passion is Creative Writing. She has always had a strong thirst for knowledge and could already write the word ‘mother’ in her home language at the age of four. She started her first year of varsity at the age of 16. After working as an Online Editor from 2014 until 2017, Hlulani Masingi founded Shangazine – an online title focused on celebrating Xitsonga people’s traditional and contemporary lifestyle.

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