VSP backs PHE’s Stoptober anti-smoking campaign, says smoking can damage your eyesight

Eyecare specialist, VSP Vision Care, is backing Public Health England’s (PHE’s) Stoptober anti-smoking campaign due to the impact that smoking can have on the eyesight.

VSP Vision Care, the world’s largest not-for-profit vision care services company with almost 90 million members worldwide, notes that smokers are at much greater risk of developing degenerative eye disease, including cataracts, glaucoma and age related macular degeneration than non-smokers according to numerous medical and public health organisations.

Stoptober, the annual 28-day stop smoking campaign from Public Health England (PHE), begins at the start of October with a range of free support to help people give up smoking including an app, daily emails and encouragement from the Stoptober online community on Facebook.

In addition, people can get expert face-to-face advice from local stop smoking services. Launched in 2012, the campaign has driven over one million attempts to stop smoking in the UK so far and is the biggest mass attempt to quit smoking in the country.

Smoking has been shown to have a detrimental effect on eyesight in a number of ways.

One of these is age related macular degeneration (AMD) which begins as a loss of central vision, making it difficult to read and see fine details.

Smokers are three to four times more likely to develop AMD than non-smokers, so

one way to reduce the risk of developing AMD is to give up smoking. Non-smokers living with smokers almost double their risk of developing AMD.

At the same time, heavy smokers who smoke 15 cigarettes a day or more have up to three times the risk of developing a cataract as non-smokers. Cataract is a clouding of the eye’s naturally clear lens, which usually gets worse as we get older.

There is also a strong link between smoking and high blood pressure, cataracts and diabetes, all of which are risk factors for glaucoma. Often considered the second leading cause of blindness, glaucoma is a complicated disease that damages the optic nerve and leads to progressive, irreversible vision loss.

Jeremy Chadwick, Managing Director, EMEA at VSP Vision Care, said: “Smoking has a detrimental effect on our eyesight in a number of ways. That’s why we are backing this year’s PHE Stoptober campaign and would encourage as many people as possible to give up smoking.”

Click here to visit the Stoptober website.

For information on employer-led vision care programmes, please contact: Suzanne Randall, Market Director UK and Ireland, +44 7720 243468 or email suzanne.randall@vsp.com