Smokers in Leicestershire are being urged to take the first step in giving up cigarettes for good on No Smoking Day, Wednesday 11 March. While studies show that two-thirds of smokers want to quit, nearly one in five UK adults continue to smoke, including just over a quarter of all adults in Leicester.
Edmonds & Slatter Opticians are encouraging all smokers to become quitters and make this years No Smoking Day the day you start to stop. But why would eye specialists be so interested? Smoking has long been known to cause heart disease and lung cancer; however many people don't realize that smoking can lead to vision loss.
Studies show smoking increases the risk of age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy and Dry Eye Syndrome. One way to reduce the risk of developing Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is by NOT smoking. Smokers are three to four times more likely to develop AMD than non-smokers.
Heavy smokers (15 cigarettes a day or more) have up to three times the risk of developing a cataract as non-smokers. There is a strong link between smoking and high blood pressure, cataracts and diabetes all of which are risk factors for glaucoma.
Smoking can increase your chances of getting diabetes. It can also make managing diabetes more difficult for those who already have it. The complications of diabetes made worse by smoking include retinopathy, heart disease, stroke, vascular disease, kidney disease, nerve damage, foot problems and many others. Dry Eye Syndrome is more than twice as likely to impact smokers as non-smokers.
Ongoing exposure to tobacco smoke generates biological changes in the eye that can lead to vision loss. Heavy exposure to second hand smoke, such as living with a smoker for at least five years, can also cause these changes. So even “non-smokers” can be affected.
It is not a contractual requirement but is surely no coincidence that none of the staff at Edmonds & Slatter are smokers!!!
Cathy Dallimore, Optometrist (pictured) said: “We understand that the majority of smokers want to stop smoking, but many find the task too daunting. No Smoking Day is the perfect opportunity to inspire smokers to quit for good.” She continued “With support, smokers are more likely to succeed in their quit attempt. That is why Edmonds & Slatter want to raise awareness of the day and make smokers aware there are resources available to them.”
So what’s the best thing you can do to prevent vision loss? Simple: Quit Smoking! If you can add eating healthy foods (including green leafy vegetables, fruits and foods high in vitamins C, E, and beta carotene), controlling your blood pressure and cholesterol, staying active and a regular visit to your Opticians in to the mix, you are on to a winner.
This year’s No Smoking Day theme is ‘Proud to be a Quitter. In life we’re told never to give up, to keep going – but when it comes to smoking, being a ‘Quitter’ is a good thing.
For more information and support on stopping smoking visit www.nosmokingday.org.uk and join the conversation of Twitter using the hashtag #NoSmokingDay. Edmonds & Slatter has practices in Blaby, Lutterworth and Glenfield. Please call 0116 277 7733 to book an appointment or visit their website at www.edmondsandslatter.co.uk