DO YOUR EYES A FAVOR IN 2011: QUIT SMOKING by Dr. Mark German, Optometrist in Ozaukee County, Wisconsin
Were you naughty or nice this year? St. Nick already passed judgment but your eyes may have another opinion. If you haven’t already heard enough reasons to quit smoking, consider macular degeneration. 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. Your chance of converting to the aggressive wet form is more likely if you are a smoker.
While there are treatments for macular degeneration, avoiding the condition is still the best course. A recent National Institute of Health study showed that certain high dose nutritional supplements were effective in decreasing the progression of macular degeneration by one-quarter. These supplements are combined in an over-the-counter product that states "AREDS formula" on the label.
Unfortunately, smokers increase their risk of lung cancer if they use beta-carotene which is part of the AREDS formula. This means that not only are smokers at a higher risk of developing severe macular degeneration in the first place, they cannot take the studied and recommended supplements to slow progression of the disease.
The bottom line is really quit smoking this time if you value your vision! Consult your primary care physician for strategies to make this New Years resolution successful for you and your eyes.
Mark E. German, O.D.
Optometrist at Lakeshore Eye Care Professionals, S.C.
Offices in Mequon and Saukville, Wisconsin
web site: www.lakeshorevision.com
Comprehensive eye care for patients of all ages including contact lens fitting, glaucoma care, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic eye care and much more.