Nicotine is poison for the eyes

Nicotine is poison for the eyes

One of the most dangerous eye diseases is age-related macular degeneration (AMD). It is the most common cause of severe visual impairments in Germany, including loss of central visual acuity. In the later stages of this retinal disease, one can no longer read or recognize faces. Not all of the factors that lead to AMD development are known. What is certain, however, is that nicotine increases the risk considerably.

Farewell to the blue haze

“Many people who smoke are not aware that the habit they have become endangers their sight. Nicotine is poison for the eyes, and a very dangerous one at that,” says Professor Dr. Bernd Bertram, second chairman of the Professional Association of Ophthalmologists (BVA). Scientific studies show that smokers are at least twice as likely to develop AMD and, in the worst case, lose their eyesight as non-smokers. You can do a lot yourself to preserve your eyesight into old age:

  • nicotine abstinence
  • healthy eating
  • Sun protection for the eyes and
  • preventive examinations at the ophthalmologist.

These examinations detect those hazardous eye diseases that you only notice when you can no longer see a lot. In addition to AMD, this also includes glaucoma (green star).


Early diagnosis – successful therapy

AMD occurs in two forms: 80 per cent of patients suffer from dry AMD. Their central visual acuity gradually decreases, but their ability to orient themselves remains. Depending on the stage, the ophthalmologist can positively influence the course of this disease by recommending a specific combination of vitamins and minerals. No other effective therapy is known to date. The rarer wet AMD progresses aggressively: the central visual acuity decreases rapidly, and the patient can soon no longer read or recognize faces. Pathological vessels have formed under the macula, which destroys the central visual cells. Early detection is of crucial importance. In addition to the previous laser therapies, new treatment options have been available since 2005. Injections of drugs that inhibit vascular growth can significantly slow down, stop, or sometimes even partially reverse vision loss. The crucial factor is the right timing. Modern diagnostics enable the ophthalmologist to determine it without a doubt and to determine the treatment intervals precisely.


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