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What’s Worse For Your Vision: High Myopia (Nearsightedness) or Smoking?

cigarette 110849 640While the detrimental effects of smoking on the lungs and heart are widely known, many aren’t aware that its impact on vision is just as profound. Myopia, on the other hand, is commonly viewed as a benign refractive error that simply requires correction with prescription lenses. The truth is, however, that both myopia progression and smoking increase the chances of developing serious eye diseases that can lead to vision loss.

Here’s the good news — the risks to vision associated with smoking and myopia progression in children are potentially preventable. Just as a chain-smoker can kick the habit to improve eye health, myopia management programs offered at The Myopia Management Center At Coastal Family Eyecare can dramatically lower their child’s risk of developing serious ocular diseases later in life.

Let’s Compare Smoking to Myopia Progression

Cataracts

Cataracts occur when the eye’s natural lens begins to cloud, causing hazy or blurred vision. Certain factors can contribute to the onset and severity of the condition, such as advanced age, obesity, eye injury, high myopia, and smoking. In fact, according to a recent study, smokers are 2 times more likely to develop cataracts than non-smokers.

However, children with medium to high myopia are 5 times more likely to develop cataracts later in life than non-myopic children.

Macular Degeneration

Smoking is the largest controllable factor that contributes to macular degeneration. Studies show that those who smoke are 2 to 4 times more likely to develop macular degeneration than non-smokers.

Myopic macular degeneration (MMD) is caused by a severe eye elongation and retinal stretching — such as in high myopia —  which leads to a damaged macula (the small portion of the retina responsible for detailed central and color vision). The higher the myopia, the greater the risk of developing MMD.

Retinal Detachment 

The harmful properties in cigarettes can cause uveitis — an inflammation of the uvea (the eye’s middle layer). Uveitis can lead to retinal detachment, which separates the retina from the layers beneath it. This causes field vision loss, floaters, light flashes, and in severe cases — complete vision loss. Smoking more than doubles the chances of developing this condition.

There also is a causal relationship between myopia and retinal detachment. A child with mild myopia is 21 times more likely to develop retinal detachment, whereas a child with high myopia is 44 times more likely to suffer from this serious condition.

Glaucoma 

Glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness in the United States and Canada, occurs when ocular fluid places pressure on the eye, damaging the optic nerve. A few risk factors for glaucoma include high blood pressure, cataracts, and diabetes — all of which are linked to smoking. By kicking the smoking habit, one significantly reduces the risks of developing this vision-robbing condition.

Similarly, children with medium to high myopia are 5 times more likely to develop glaucoma than non-myopes.

What's worse for your vision? High myopia (nearsightedness) or smoking? from EyeCarePro on Vimeo.

How Can Myopia Management Help?

As adults, many of us take actions to maintain good health and preserve our vision, such as eating a healthy diet, exercising, and not smoking. Let’s do the same for our children. As depicted above, smoking is as dangerous for the eyes as rapidly progressing myopia.

If your child’s prescription rapidly deteriorates, contact The Myopia Management Center At Coastal Family Eyecare for a consultation. Let us help your child diminish the risk of developing ocular disease and vision loss with our effective myopia management program.

Dr. Leonard serves patients from Pensacola, Orange Beach, Tallahassee, Mobile, and throughout FL.

References

https://www.allaboutvision.com/smoking/

https://www.everydayhealth.com/vision-center/the-aging-eye/tips/smoking-ups-risk-for-age-related-vision-loss.aspx

https://www.allaboutvision.com/parents/myopia-progression.htm



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Dear Patients,

As of Tuesday evening, March 17th, the CDC has recommended that all routine eye care be deferred until further notice, in order to slow the transmission of COVID-19 through our community.

Please be assured that we are still available to triage all urgent and emergent calls during this challenging time.

We are officially closing our offices effective at 3:00pm today, March 20 th and tentatively plan to reopen on April 1 st . We are rescheduling all routine visits and are available by phone to triage ocular emergencies.

Our phone lines will be open:

Monday the 23 rd and 30 th : 10:00am to 5:00pm

Tuesday-Friday (24 th -27 th and the 31 st ): 9:00am to 3:00pm

What does this mean?

1) If you are scheduled for an annual eye examination we will tentatively reschedule you starting April 1 st

2) If you are running out of a medication please contact us and we can transmit a refill electronically to your pharmacy.

3) If you have an issue which cannot wait for an office visit, contact us and we will schedule a Telephone appointment with one of our doctors. Medicare has temporarily relaxed its telehealth rules to allow this type of communication during the pandemic crisis. Other insurers may follow suit and allow for reimbursement of virtual care costs. The consultation must be initiated at your request.

4) If you have an ocular emergency we are, as always, available to help you at any time. Call 1-850-455-0120 andwait for instructions at the end of the message.

Dr. Leonard or Dr. Charbonneau will discuss your condition by phone and make the best treatment decision for you on a one on one basis.

5) Please remember that 80% of COVID-19 cases are mild and resolve within a week. However, if you feel your symptoms are worsening, call ahead before visiting your doctor’s office or emergency department and tell them you have or may have COVID-19. This will help the office protect themselves and other patients.

The CDC has many wonderful resources. Arming yourself and your family with clear information will help you avoid undue stress.

https://bit.ly/2WxWYIe and https://bit.ly/33FBlXZ

Together we will weather this storm.

With sincerest wishes for your continued good health we remain at your service,

Dr. Clare L Leonard

Dr. Mary Charbonneau

 

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