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Heavy smoking can damage eyesight – Study

A report published in the Psychiatry Research has shown that smoking more than 20 cigarettes a day can damage the eyesight.

According to sciendaily .com , the study included 71 healthy people who smoked fewer than 15 cigarettes in their lives and 63 who smoked more than 20 cigarettes a day . The participants were diagnosed with tobacco addiction and reported no attempts to stop smoking . The researchers looked at how participants discriminated contrast levels and colours while seated 59 inches from a 19 – inch cathode- ray tube monitor that displayed stimuli as they monitored both eyes simultaneously .

The findings of the study indicated significant changes in the smokers’ red -green and blue -yellow colour vision, which suggested that consuming substances with neurotoxic chemicals , such as those in cigarettes, may cause overall colour vision loss . The study authors also found that heavy smokers had a reduced ability to discriminate contrasts and colours when compared to the non – smokers. The co – author of the study , Dr Steven Silverstein , said , “ Cigarette smoke consists of numerous compounds that are harmful to health , and it has been linked to a reduction in the thickness of layers in the brain and to brain lesions , involving areas , such as the frontal lobe, which plays a role in voluntary movement and control of thinking , and a decrease in activity in the area of the brain that processes vision.

“Previous studies have pointed to long -term smoking as doubling the risk for age -related macular degeneration and as a factor causing lens yellowing and inflammation. Our results indicate that excessive use of cigarettes or chronic exposure to their compounds affects visual discrimination , supporting the existence of overall deficits in visual processing with tobacco addiction.” Although the study did not give a physiological explanation for the results , Silverstein said that since nicotine and smoking harm the vascular system , the research suggested they also damage blood vessels and neurons in the retina.

The study authors also suggested that research into visual processing impairments in other groups of people , such as those with schizophrenia who smoke heavily , should take into account their smoking rate or independently examine smokers versus non -smokers .

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