MILLIONS of people across the UK smoke or use vape products.
Every year thousands of these people will suffer health issues related to their habit.
It’s estimated that around 6.9million people in the UK smoke every day.
Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) states that this equates to 14.1 per cent of people who are over the age of 18.
In recent years though, smoking has become less popular, and in a bid to quit – many people have taken up vaping.
It’s estimated that around 3.3million British vape and the NHS recommends it as an aid to help people stub out cigarettes for good.
Studies have proven that vaping is less harmful than cigarettes, but some expert have warned that these products could also cause damage to the brain.
The marketing of these products also makes them more appealing to children – putting their health at risk.
While most people know the risks tobacco products can pose to our health, such as issues with our lungs, one expert has now warned of the dangers to our eyes.
Contact lens optician Sujata Paul said many people don’t realize that these products can have a negative impact on our sight.
Sujata who works with Lenstore explained that smoking can increase your risk of serious eye conditions that in some cases may lead to permanent vision loss, including AMD (age related macular degeneration), cataracts and glaucoma.
“On a short-term perspective, tobacco smoke can also cause dry eye syndrome, leading to irritated and painful eyes.”
The eye guru explained that while smoking is dangerous, vaping can also cause oxidative stress in the eyes.
She explained: “Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance in your oxygen levels.
“Like anywhere else in the body, additional stress can have negative effects on your health.
“Overtime, vaping will increase your risk of cataracts, macular degeneration and even glaucoma.
“Glaucoma reduces your vision and can even result in permanent blindness if left untreated.”
HELP AT HAND
In order to improve the health of your eyes, Sujata said quitting smoking will help prevent any long term damage to your eye health.
She revealed three key ways that will help you kick the habit.
1. Set the date
Choose a date that you’d like to quit by and consider setting a date within the next two weeks.
Sujata explained that two weeks gives you ample time to prepare without losing your motivation to quit.
“If you’re someone who finds themselves mostly smoking at work, a good idea would be to quit on the weekend, this gives you enough time to adjust,” she added.
2. Chuck them out
It’s all too easy to give into temptation if you have these products around so Sujata said you should throw them all away.
“This includes lighters, ashtrays, matches, and anything that you associate with smoking.
“Washing clothes or anything else that smells of smoke will remove any further temptation,” the expert said.
3. Seek help
It can be hard going it alone, and your GP has resources on hand that can help you quit.
The guru explained that your doctor can prescribe medication which eases withdrawal symptoms.
“Other alternatives are nicotine patches, lozenges, and gum. All three can be purchased over the counter at your local pharmacy,” she added.
It’s important that if you begin to notice changes in your eyesight such as blurry spots in your central vision, needing more light to read and straight lines beginning to appear wavy, then you get checked out.
An eye exam is often the most effective method to spotting any eye disease early.
Doctors may also give you injections into your eye that prevent any further damage.
Some patients may even need these on a regular basis to save their vision, Sujata added.
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