BBR Optometry wishes to use this Stoptober – a national campaign aimed at encouraging smokers to quit the habit – to remind people that the link between smoking and sight loss is as strong as the link between smoking and lung cancer.
The campaign, now in its seventh year, has already helped some 1.5 million people quit smoking through a range of support services such as e-cigarettes, medicines and support networks.
Nick Rumney, BBR chairman, says: “Many people are aware that smoking really increases a person’s risk of getting lung cancer but what not so many are aware of is the damage caused to your eyes and the fact it can even lead to vision loss.
“That’s because cigarettes contain toxins that enter your eyes and increase your risk of sight loss by up to four times because these chemicals damage blood vessels inside your eyes.
“Tobacco chemicals also interfere with the production of your tears and can increase your risk of ocular surface disease and is also a key risk factor for macular degeneration, the UK’s leading cause of blindness, with research published in the British Medical Journal suggesting one in five cases are caused by tobacco consumption.
“Smoking is also a major risk factor in the development of cataracts, being three times higher than in non-smokers, as well for people developing diabetic retinopathy.
“Colour vision deficiency is also increased by smoking while nicotine poisoning can make it difficult to clearly distinguish colours with a red or green hue.
“So if you need a good reason to quit this Stoptober – and don’t forget that you could save up to £4,000 per year which would pay for a lot of eye care – then please do make this the time you quit so your eye health really benefits and if you have already quit for 12 days then well done and keep up the good work.
“Prevention is always better than cure and stopping smoking also protects your loved ones as well from the effects of second-hand smoke which also increases their risk of suffering sight loss,” he added.
To see how you can get involved in Stoptober go to the website.