“Smoking Causes Blindness” on Australian Cigarette Packets

Smoking damages the entire body, including the eyes. The Australian government has introduced harsh laws to discourage the addictive habit. Cigarette packaging is plain, featuring gruesome color photos and statements such as “Smoking Causes Blindness.” What are Australia’s anti-smoking laws, and will they work? How does smoking cause blindness?

Smokers have a significantly higher chance of developing heart disease, lung cancer, emphysema, macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma. Smoking during pregnancy can cause fetal optic damage and low birth weight. Exposure to second-hand smoke is a public nuisance and a health risk.

Australia’s Effective Anti-Smoking Campaign

Some of Australia’s anti-smoking measures have already paid off. The government raised the price of cigarettes by increasing taxes on their sale. The rate in Australia dropped from approximately 30% in the 1980’s to just 13% of the population in 20131 Australia is going further. They have introduced plain packaging with dire messages and disturbing images showing the harm tobacco can do. They will raise the cost of a pack of cigarettes to AU$40 (US$30) in 2020.

How Smoking Causes Blindness

Several major eye diseases occur in higher rates among smokers. Second-hand smoke is also harmful.

As soon as a cigarette catches fire, smoke enters the air and the eyes. Studies have found that cigarette smoke toxins can damage tear secretion.2 Lack of proper tear secretion is the definition of dry eye syndrome.

Babies whose mothers smoked during pregnancy have thinner layers of retinal nerve fiber. These children are 10% more likely to be born with optic nerve damage.

Smokers face a higher risk of these serious eye diseases:

  • Cataracts: Men who smoke a pack a day are twice as likely to develop cataracts than non-smokers. Cataracts typically strike seniors, but even young smokers can start to develop cataracts. Without treatment, cataracts cause blurring, color dullness, and blindness.
  • Macular Degeneration: Smokers are twice as likely to develop Age-Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD), a very serious eye disease. The macula, crucial for central vision, breaks down. Its more serious form, the “wet” type, is even more likely in smokers. There is no cure, and treatments have limited effect. ARMD is linked to Alzheimer’s Disease. Stopping smoking can sometimes halt ARMD.
  • Glaucoma: A leading cause of blindness, glaucoma is much more likely to strike smokers than non-smokers.3 Two common risk factors for glaucoma are cataracts and diabetes, which are also more prevalent among smokers.
  • Optic Nerve Damage: Several eye conditions result from optic nerve damage. Tobacco use increases the risk by a whopping 16 times.

Summary

Australia has nationalized healthcare. Therefore, the country has a high stake in the health of is populace. Smoking indoors and even outdoors is heavily restricted. Cutting rates through drastic measures will likely pay off for this country. No price can be put on good health, including healthy vision.

Editor’s Note: We cannot recommend supplements to counteract smokers’ ocular damage. The oxidization and toxins are so overwhelming that supplements would waste money and may make little difference. Spend your energy instead on quitting  immediately. Electronic cigarettes and even vaping may not be much better. Talk to your doctor about smoking cessation programs.

Next:   A Smoker’s Life: Infographic

Source: How Australia is stubbing out smoking – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-38733502

New Bilberry and Ginkgo Antioxidant Extract Formula from Dr. Marc Grossman

bilberry and gingkoNatural Eye Care has created a new antioxidant supplement, “Dr. Grossman’s Bilberry/Ginkgo Combination Wild Crafted Extract Formula” to help support vision health and circulation. These natural extracts contain powerful antioxidants that counteract free radicals. The formula is designed to help prevent cellular damage, and even reverse it. Many eye diseases, including macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma, are rooted in cellular damage from free radicals.1 2

Bilberry for Vision

A relative of the blueberry, bilberry contains flavonoids. Flavonoids are potent antioxidants. They repair damaged tissue and strengthen blood vessels. Research has shown that bilberry could be useful for macular degeneration (ARMD), diabetic retinopathy, and night vision disorders. This fruit may even slow the formation of cataracts, possibly because it protects the eyes from the sun’s damaging blue light.

Ginkgo for Circulation

Ginkgo Biloba is common herb in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Ginkgo is prized for its special plant nutrients that improve blood circulation throughout the body, including the eyes. This herb supports balanced intraocular pressure, important for glaucoma patients. Research has linked Ginkgo to improved Traumatic Brain Injury outcomes,3, improvement in memory for dementia patients,4 improvements for Macular Degeneration patients,5, and less deterioration from glaucoma.6

Dr. Grossman’s Bilberry/Ginkgo Combination Wild Crafted Extract Formula is made from the highest quality raw ingredients. Available in a 2 oz bottle, the vegetarian supplement contains no chemicals, pesticides, preservatives or filler. Taking just 1/4 tsp two to four times per day by mouth provides the recommended doses of Gingko and Bilberry extracts. The supplement can be used by eye disease patients as an adjunct to their doctor-recommended eye care program. It can also be used by healthy individuals seeking to preserve their vision as they age.

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What are the Best Sunglasses? The Truth About Eye Wear

sunglasses choicesEverywhere you look, sunglasses are for sale! Sunglasses are found in malls, street corner vendor stalls, drug stores, sports stores, and even supermarkets. Prices vary from $2 to $300. Did you know that a high percentage of the protecting effects advertised are mislabeled? How can you find a pair of sunglasses that really provides protection against the harmful effects of sunlight? Does a higher price mean the glasses are better?

Why Wear Sunglasses?

Sunlight is a nutrient, and it is essential for health. However, certain light rays have been shown to have a damaging effect on the eye. Specifically, ultra-violet A (320-400nm), ultra-violet B (286-320nm), and blue light (400-500nm) are suspect. Excessive Continue reading “What are the Best Sunglasses? The Truth About Eye Wear”

Natural Support for Ocular Rosacea

ocular rosaceaOcular rosacea is a reddening of the eye’s white area. The cornea can also be affected, especially if you have dry eyes. Rosacea is mostly known as a skin condition, however, this condition can affect the eyes. The redness is from inflammation. Ocular rosacea can happen with or without the skin type. Symptoms include dry eyes, light sensitivity, eyelids that are red or swollen, frequent eye styes, recurring conjunctivitis, redness, and itching, stinging or burning. Patients are often between the ages of 30-60, fair skinned, light hair and eyes, menopausal women, and more Continue reading “Natural Support for Ocular Rosacea”

From Farm to Table: Eye Care Veggies – Part I

fresh picked vegetablesWhat you eat directly affects your health and even your vision health.  Whether you get your food from your local grocer, your community’s farmer’s market, your local CSA, or your own garden, you can eat the foods that will best support healthy vision.

Fresh versus Store-Bought

The biggest issue between store-bought and fresh produce from your own garden or your local farmer’s market is that fresh Continue reading “From Farm to Table: Eye Care Veggies – Part I”

From Farm to Table: Growing Your Own – Part III

gardeningGrowing your own is the very best option.  From the garden straight to the salad or the pan is the finest choice for flavor, nutrition, and satisfaction!  You may not have garden space or the inclination to garden, but you can accomplish a surprising amount in less space than you thought possible.  Don’t skip the essentials, below.

Micro-gardens

Micro gardens are designed for small urban spaces and are designed to be extremely productive, sustainable, affordable, Continue reading “From Farm to Table: Growing Your Own – Part III”

From Farm to Table: Vegetable Heros – Part II

fresh beetNow, let’s learn about the foods that you can readily find not only at your grocery store, but in your farmer’s market or CSA and which you could also easily grow on your own.  These provide great support for your vision health.

Preparing your produce

You probably know already that when you boil Continue reading “From Farm to Table: Vegetable Heros – Part II”

Dry Eyes Improve with Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Study

rubbing dry eyesA strong study in the International Journal of Ophthalmology found that omega-3 fatty acids significantly reduced dry eyes. Dry eye syndrome is becoming more prevalent in the West from extended close-up work on computers and phone screens. The condition can also be caused by an autoimmune disorder; it can accompany menopause; and it can have other causes. Symptoms include burning, dryness, irritation, a feeling of grit, and difficulty reading for extended periods.

Omega-3 fatty acids are found in highest quantity in Continue reading “Dry Eyes Improve with Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Study”

Antioxidants, Eye Disease and Oxidative Stress

antioxidant foodsThe links between antioxidants and vision health are strong. Antioxidants are the antidote to oxidization. Normal metabolism creates free radicals. These are atoms that lack an electron. Free radicals roam about the body, scavenging electrons and stealing electrons from healthy cells.  This results in permanent damage to these afflicted cells which ultimately can result in disease. Significant research has shown that antioxidants protect against this cellular damage and are essential for maintaining health. The eye is especially vulnerable to free radical damage. Therefore, providing the body with sufficient antioxidants Continue reading “Antioxidants, Eye Disease and Oxidative Stress”

Aerobic Exercise Changes the Brain

aerobic exercise seniorA recent study found that aerobic exercise had a larger positive effect on the brain than stretching alone.1 The volume of the brain increased, according to MRIs. Also, the aerobic exercise group had a significant improvement on executive brain functioning tests. The researchers are hoping to find ways to head off or reduce the impact of Alzheimer’s Disease in seniors.

The study subjects all had mild cognitive impairment (MCI). MCI is a risk Continue reading “Aerobic Exercise Changes the Brain”