Smoking Damages Vision, According To A New Study


A study issued in the Psychiatry Research journal and carried out in collaboration with researchers from Rutgers University revealed that smoking more than 20 cigarettes a day might damage smokers’ vision.

In the US, for example, 34.3 million adults are smokers, according to the estimations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 16 million people out of them are already suffering from a smoking-related disease, particularly a cardiovascular condition. For their study, the researchers from Rutgers University tested 71 healthy people who only smoked up to 15 cigarettes in their lives and other 63 individuals who usually smoke more than 20 cigarettes per day.

“The researchers looked at how participants discriminated contrast levels (subtle differences in shading) and colors while seated 59 inches from a 19-inch cathode-ray tube monitor that displayed stimuli while researchers monitored both eyes simultaneously. The findings indicated significant changes in the smokers’ red-green and blue-yellow color vision, which suggests that consuming substances with neurotoxic chemicals, such as those in cigarettes, may cause overall color vision loss,” EurekAlert reported.

According To A New Study, Smoking Damages Vision

“Cigarette smoke consists of numerous compounds that are harmful to health, and it has been linked to a reduction in the thickness of layers in the brain, and to brain lesions, involving areas such as the frontal lobe, which plays a role in voluntary movement and control of thinking, and a decrease in activity in the area of the brain that processes vision,” explained Steven Silverstein from Rutgers University.

“Previous studies have pointed to long-term smoking as doubling the risk for age-related macular degeneration and as a factor causing lens yellowing and inflammation. Our results indicate that excessive use of cigarettes, or chronic exposure to their compounds, affects visual discrimination, supporting the existence of overall deficits in visual processing with tobacco addiction,” Silverstein added.

However, the researchers did not find any psychological reason for why smoking damages vision, but Silverstein explained that the nicotine and tar from cigarettes smoke affect the vascular system, harming the blood vessels and the neurons in the retina, causing visual processing impairments.


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