Experts prefer cigarette packets to have a warning that smoking can cause blindness. A number of studies have highlighted that both active and passive smoking can lead to age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness in UK. In this condition, there is a gradual loss of central vision owing a degeneration of the macula, a region of the retina responsible for fine, central vision.
In support to the above issue, the Royal College of Ophthalmologists wanted the government to add 'Smoking causes blindness' in addition to the already existing labels like 'Smoking kills' and 'Smoking may cause impotence'.
Mr. Nick Astbury, President of the college stressed on the fact that smoking related vision loss can be quite stressful and therefore urged all smokers to quit smoking at he earliest.
The effect of smoking on eyes is comparable to the association between smoking and lung cancer. Alarmingly, age related macular change increases the risk of vision loss or blindness by a margin of two folds due to age related macular change. Tom Brembridge, of the Macular Disease Society, stresses on a link between smoking and AMD.
People with sight problems have double the chances of going in depression compared to those with good vision. The following is the result of a survey conducted on more than 4000 individuals by Dr Peter Elton, of Bury Primary Care Trust.
It has further been suggested that both ophthalmologists and optometrists, should stress on the message they give to patients to quit smoking.
Though the European Commission decides the warnings on the packets of cigarettes, people should be made known the effect of cigarettes on eye, said a spokesman for the Department of Health.