Not just cancer and heart problems, tobacco may cause blindness: AIIMS docs

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The blindness is often irreversible, the doctors said. Additionally, those who smoke tobacco significantly increase their risk of developing cataract compared to non-smokers.

It’s a well-known fact that smoking even mild or light cigarettes puts you at greater risk of lung cancer, and that smokers are at higher risk of developing mental illnesses. Despite knowing the ill effects, a survey found that 9 in 10 Indians smokers try to quit but fail. The doctors at AIIMS now provide an additional reason to quit smoking. They said that tobacco not only causes cancer, its prolonged consumption also may also lead to blindness, and often such cases are irreversible. They also said studies have shown that those who smoke tobacco, significantly increase their risk of developing cataract compared to non-smokers. Smoking or chewing tobacco over five to 10 years affects the optic nerve which may lead to visual loss, the doctors said.

“Often such cases of blindness are irreversible. People know that smoking and chewing of tobacco causes heart disease and cancer, but vision loss and other eye problems due to tobacco are not widely known,” said Dr Atul Kumar, Chief of Dr R P Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences in AIIMS. Read More