Cataracts are very common in older patients. In fact, among individuals aged 80 and older, cataracts are the number one cause of vision loss and complete blindness. While cataracts can affect a person of any age, the most common types of cataracts are age-related, and typically begin developing in a person’s 60s. Cataracts cloud the natural lens of the eye so that it is difficult to see clearly or properly focus on objects. Aside from the age-related risk of cataracts, recent studies have found that there is a direct link between smoking and the risk of cataracts. At Broberg Eye Care, our experienced team of eye doctors is happy to discuss smoking and the risk of cataracts with our Austin, TX patients, as well as go over treatment options that can eliminate cataracts and save a person’s vision.
Smoking and Cataracts
Smoking was once thought of as a harmless habit, but scientific evidence has exposed the link between smoking and the health of the lungs. Since then, studies have continued to find links between smoking and various diseases of the body, including heart disease. Now evidence shows that smoking also has a negative impact on the health of the eyes. Smoking has been shown to increase the risk of a number of eye diseases. One of the most significant links between smoking and eye health is the risk of cataracts.
Cataracts should be a real concern for any patient as they age. However, the risk of cataracts is significantly higher for smokers. In general, studies have found that smokers are twice as likely to develop cataracts as those who don’t smoke. And the more a person smokes, the greater that risk becomes.
Can Quitting Smoking Decrease the Risk of Cataracts?
Fortunately, just as evidence shows that smoking increases the risk of many health problems, findings also indicate that those risks can be decreased shortly after a person quits smoking. Within just a few months of quitting smoking, a person’s risk of lung disease, heart disease, and other health complications can decrease significantly. The longer a person refrains from smoking, the smaller those risks will be. The same is true of cataracts.
However, patients should understand that quitting smoking will not completely eliminate the increased risk of cataracts. Studies do show that a person who has smoked during his or her lifetime is still more likely to develop cataracts than someone who hasn’t smoked. Still, the risk of cataracts is lower among past smokers than it is among current smokers. In short, it is always a good idea to quit smoking, but the best bet is to avoid this unhealthy habit altogether.
Whether a person smokes or not, cataracts can threaten the health of the eyes. Cataracts are not a condition that can be treated with medication. While prescription eyewear can allow patients to maintain clear vision for some time, eventually surgery will be required. At Broberg Eye Care, we offer laser surgery to remove lenses affected by cataracts and replace them with IOLs, or intraocular lenses, that will enhance vision. Cataract surgery is the only effective, long-lasting cataract treatment.
Schedule an Appointment
If you are experiencing blurry vision, light sensitivity, or difficulty with night vision, you may be suffering from cataracts. Schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience to find out how the experienced team of eye doctors at Broberg Eye Care can treat this condition and restore clear eyesight.