Were you naughty or nice this year? St. Nick already passed judgment but your eyes may have another opinion. It's New Years Resolution time so if you haven’t already heard enough reasons to quit smoking, consider macular degeneration and cataracts.
There are two types of macular degeneration: dry and wet. The dry type is usually quite mild. The wet type is another story - you may loose your central vision and along with that your ability to read or drive. This is already the leading cause of legal blindness for those over 65 year-old. Your chance of converting to the aggressive wet form is more likely if you are a smoker.
Cataract progression is also related to smoking. A recent review paper in the medical journal Investigative Ophthalmology looked at over 20 studies comparing the risk of developing cataracts in smokers and non-smokers. All showed that smoking significantly increased the risk of developing cataracts. The numbers ranged from a 60% to 86% - meaning that by smoking you increase your chances of getting cataracts by 60 to 86%. And quitting made a difference, a 90% increased risk of cataracts was found for current smokers compared to former smokers.
The bottom line is really quit smoking this time if you value your vision! While we can fix cataracts, macular degeneration is another matter. Consult your primary care physician for strategies to make this New Years resolution successful for you and your eyes.
Dr. Cueto in an Ophthalmologist practicing with Drs. Martha Jay and Mark German at Lakeshore Eye Care Professionals. They provide medical and surgical eye care for patients of all ages and accept most insurance plans.
Call 262-241-1919 or visit www.LakeShoreVision.com for more eye care information.