Tobacco might cause blindness, say AIIMS doctors
Despite there being well-known correlation between smoking and risk of lung cancer and development of mental illnesses, surveys have shown that 9 out of 10 Indian smokers try to quit smoking and fail. Now, doctors at AIIMS have found another reason to encourage smokers to quit the harmful habit. Their studies have shown that prolonged tobacco consumption might result in blindness.
Relation between tobacco consumption and blindness not widely known
"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.
Cataract is the main cause of blindness
There is an ongoing survey on blindness in the country. The National Blindness survey, expected to be completed by June 2018, is being carried out across 30 districts, of which data collection has been completed in 19 districts across 17 states. As of now, it has been found that cataract is the main causal factor behind blindness.
Incidence of blindness in India
According to the World Health Organization's (WHO) 2010 data, India accounts for 20% of the entire world's blindness burden.
Tobacco consumption might lead to blindness and cataract
Studies have shown that blindness resulting out of prolonged tobacco usage is often irreversible. Chewing or smoking tobacco for prolonged periods i.e. over 5 years might affect a person's optic nerve and lead to loss of vision. In addition, studies have also shown that smokers have a much higher risk of developing cataract compared to non-smokers.Share this timeline