SMOKERS are being warned they could be tripling their chances of losing their sight unless they quit the habit.
According to new research from anti-smoking group Fresh, lighting up greatly increases the risk of developing Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) – which is when central vision becomes blurred and distorted.
The condition makes everyday activities like watching TV, reading and driving more difficult or impossible – and there is no cure.
Despite the warnings, a recent survey found that just 15 per cent of smokers are concerned about the impact smoking has on their eye health.
Speaking as part of National Eye Health Week, Ailsa Rutter, director of Fresh, said: “Tobacco smoke is composed of at least 4,000 chemicals, most of them toxic and potentially damaging to the eye.
“The best way to avoid some of the related sight loss is by quitting smoking and we are urging people to give it a go for Stoptober.”
Tony Rucinski, chief executive of the Macular Society, warned Sunderland smokers: “Macular degeneration is the biggest cause of sight loss in this country.
“600,000 people have last-stage AMD now and another 200 are added to that number every day.
“Our age and our genes have a big impact on whether or not we get AMD, but smoking is without doubt a major factor. Smoking causes AMD, it makes treatment for AMD less effective and it doubles the risk of AMD even in people who only breathe other people’s smoke. Yet many people don’t even know there’s a link between smoking and blindness. Your sight is precious.
“Don’t smoke your sight away.”