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MORE REASON NOT TO SMOKE

If smokers ever needed more reason to give up their unhealthy habits, they should take note of new research showing that cigarette smoking damages the eyes in a way that resembles the early stages of glaucoma. This finding is based on evaluation of smoking’s effect on the retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL), which collects visual impulses from photoreceptors (rods and cones) and ganglion cells in the retina and transmits them to the optic nerve. The optic nerve then transmits this collected information to the brain. The examinations revealed that the RNFL of the smokers was significantly thinner than that of the non-smokers, which is a symptom also shared with glaucoma and retinitis pigmentosa. Treatment for glaucoma can involve the use of medications, conventional (bladed) surgery, laser surgery or a combination of these treatments. Glaucoma and retinitis pigmentosa are collectively associated with blind spots in the visual field, loss of peripheral vision, and even blindness.