Health Tips
Stay healthy by reading wellness advice from our top specialists.

If you thought smoking was causing damage to only your lungs, thing again. Your eyesight, one of your most valuable possessions, is at high risk of damage because of your bad habit.
The damage done to your eyes by cigarettes happens from two sources; the toxic smoke that hangs in the air which surrounds you as you puff on the cigarettes and 4000 odd toxic substances that enter your bloodstream once you smoke. In extreme cases, smoking also causes loss in vision. Here is a list of eye disorders and diseases, which can be caused due to smoking-

Macular degeneration

The risk of developing Age-related Macular Degeneration is there for people above the age of fifty. In case of smokers, the chance of developing AMD is three times more than in nonsmokers. It has been proven that smokers develop the chance of AMD ten years prior to non smokers.


This process involves the clouding of the lens inside the eye. Cataract develops with old age, usually. The risk of developing early cataract is common among smokers, who are twice at risk of cataract than non smokers. The effect of the cataract in the case of smokers is more severe.


Glaucoma is the eye disorder where the death of nerve fiber layer behind our eyes takes place, and that results in loss of vision. The increase in pressure within the eyes leads to glaucoma. Smoking enhances the pressure in your eyes, and so smokers are at a potential risk of acquiring this disease.

Diabetic eye diseases

A number of eye diseases are accompanied with diabetes. This can result in blindness when left ignored or not paid attention to in severe cases. Diabetic patients who are smokers are three times more at a risk of eye diseases associated with diabetes.

Optic neuropathy

This eye disease causes sudden loss of vision to the eyes without any pain. It happens due to the disrupted flow of blood in the arteries of the eyes. Smokers are 16 times more at a risk of developing optic neuropathy at an earlier age.

Thyroid associated eye diseases

Patients having thyroid issues or Grave's disease have disorders in their vision. Grave's disease patients who smoke tobacco are likely to develop severe eye diseases associated with the thyroid.

Dry eye

Smoking causes irritation to the eyes and affects the tear film of the eye. Smokers and passive smokers are likely to develop dry eye disorders. Smoking causes a lot of eye diseases and disorders, and smokers are at a higher risk of acquiring eye diseases than non smokers.

Dry eyes can cause a lot of discomfort. They not only make the vision blurry, but also cause burning sensation, redness in the eyes and constant sticking of the eyelids. However, there are several ways in which you can cure this dryness; having a healthy diet is one of them. According to Consultant Nutritionist, Dr. Rupali Datta, "Having Vitamin A and Vitamin C rich foods could be really healthy for your eyes. Especially, Vitamin A as it provides with beta carotene. Add yellow, green and red vegetables along with essential minerals to your diet as these foods will provide you with sufficient beta carotene and healthy vitamins." Dry eyes could also be due to lack of fatty acids in your diet. Having a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can enhance water production in your eyes which can in turn help in better lubrication. Here's how you can get rid of those dry eyes in a natural way. Read on to know more about them.Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is a versatile ingredient as it has multiple benefits and uses. It has anti-inflammatory and moisturizing agents which aid in keeping the dry eyes nourished. Take 2-3 drops of coconut oil and rub it near your eyes for about 2-3 minutes. Wait until the skin absorbs the oil fully. After few minutes, repeat the procedure again and watch out for results!

Cucumber: To avoid itchiness and redness, take a cucumber slice it place it on your eyes for about 15 minutes. Cucumber is an excellent source of vitamin A which is a great nourisher for dry eyes.

Yogurt: Yogurt is a rich source of vitamin D, B and A. Having a bowl of yogurt everyday can cure the itchiness and provide you with proper eye nourishment.

Blinking Exercise: Tears are essential for maintaining the health of the front surface of the eyes. Regular blinking of eyes can stimulate the flow of tears which can help in keeping the moisture intact

Warm Cloth Compress: One of the most natural ways to cure dry eyes is with the help of a warm cloth. Take a really soft cloth and dip it in a bowl of hot water. Take the cloth out of the bowl and squeeze out the remaining water. Once it is done, press the warm cloth against your eyes for about 7-8 minutes. The hot water will increase the blood circulation around the eyes which will stimulate the lubrication.

So if you happen to be one of those who is suffering from dry eye syndrome, then you can try these remedies at home to get some relief.

Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, they say. But if the eyes are too tired to behold, then beauty is lost. The summer heat and the glare of the sun play spoil sport and are a cause of strain for the eyes. Dryness, a burning sensation, itching and dark circles, are quite commonly felt during this season, and can be quite an irritant. Eye allergies can also occur as well. But take heart! Here are some simple tips for healthy, relaxed eyes this summer, straight from your kitchen.

Cold Water

First things first. Splash your eyes, frequently with cold water during the day. This will help freshen up the eyes. Or better still, cotton pads soaked in ice water placed on the eyes for about ten minutes will constrict the blood vessels ,leading to relaxing the eyes.

Aloe Vera

Another effective remedy is using the ever useful aloe vera. Put some aloe vera juice in the eyes, to lessen the summer strain. You could also freeze aloe vera juice as cubes and place them on the eyelids for brightening dull eyes.


Cucumber is another obvious choice, that comes to mind when we think of eye care, because of its high water content. Take a refrigerated cucumber and cut a slice for each eye. Place it on the eyes for 15 minutes and relax. Open your eyes to a completely refreshed feeling. Cucumber pulp can also be placed on the lids if you like. You could also mix lemon juice with cucumber juice and apply around the eyes and leave for ten minutes and then wash. It will have the same effect.


Worried about those puffy eyes and under eye dark circles? Reach out for the lowly potato. The juice of the potato has astringent properties and reduces the puffiness of the eyelids and also takes care of dark circles. Grate a raw potato and put the pulp in a fine cloth and place it over the eyes. Alternately, you can place a fine slice of a peeled potato on each eye for 15 minutes. This will take care of the puffiness and dark circles. It could help reduce wrinkles too!

Rose Water

Eyes burning? Reach out for rose water. A few drops in each eye can help cool them down. Cotton dipped in rose water can also be placed on the eyes to get rid of dark circles. As an alternative, you could also spray rose water on your eyes to cool them down.


Strawberry slices placed on the eyes help rejuvenate them. Place strawberry slices or crushed mint leaves to refresh your peepers. Mint juice mixed with an equal quantity of cucumber juice applied under the eyes reduces dark circles.

Tea Bags

Next tea bags. Used tea bags are a boon for tired eyes. Once you've brewed your tea, put the tea bags in the freezer and let them stay there for some time. Place the cooled tea bags on your eyes for 15 minutes to get the sparkle back. What's more, it even helps to reduce the dark circles. You could also use green tea bags in the aforesaid way or brew green tea, cool it down and then splash this on your eyes. It shall give the same effect.


Tomatoes are known to lighten the skin and can be applied under the eyes. Mix the pulp with some lemon juice and a pinch of turmeric and apply it under the eyes. Leave it on for about 20 minutes and then gently wash it off. It works wonders.

Summer Eye Care Tips

Remember, sleep is the best remedy for tired eyes. 6-8 hours is a must. This helps reduce any strain you may have experienced during the day. A siesta in the afternoon, if you can manage, is even better.
1.Avoid the direct blast of the AC on your eyes. The cold blast can result in dry, sensitive eyes.

2.UV rays can be the cause of many eye problems.
Protecting your eyes from exposure is a must. Flaunt your shades. The bigger the better. Be sure they give UV protection.

3.Drink plenty of water to keep your body and your eyes hydrated. 6-8 glasses or 2 litres is the recommended dose.

4.Remember to remove all eye make-up before you sleep. Almond or baby oil act as good make-up removers.

5.Last but not the least, don't forget a diet rich in Vitamin A. Leafy and red vegetables, should be your pick.

Follow these simple steps and bring these kitchen ingredients to your rescue for relaxed eyes this summer!

Though it starts as a mild disease, Diabetic Retinopathy can cause severe visual impairment and in some cases, blindness. As the name suggests, this disorder strikes diabetic patients, especially those with high sugar levels. As the symptoms are not immediately evident, the disease can often go unnoticed and later diagnosis may make the problem more severe. Since forewarned is forearmed, here is all you need to know about Diabetic Retinopathy.

What is Diabetic Retinopathy?
Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) affects the light-sensitive tissue blood vessels in the retina that line the back of the eye. It can cause the leaking of the blood vessels in the eye and when the fluid gets accumulated in macula–the part of the retina that controls the most detailed vision abilities–blurred vision can be caused.

How is it caused?
Diabetic Retinopathy is caused mainly due to high sugar levels in the blood that damage the network of tiny blood vessels that supply blood to the retina of the eye. The severity of the effect of the sugar on the retina determines the effects of DR.

What happens in Diabetic Retinopathy?
During the initial stages, the blood vessels in the retina become weak and small bulges called microaneurysms are developed. These may burst and cause tiny blood haemorrhages on the retina, as per Sankara Eye Hospital.

Abnormal retinal blood vessels bleeding causes the appearance of wavy vision and colour changes. When blood vessels leak into the centre of the eye, it is identified as Proliferative Retinopathy. Blurry vision is one of the signs along with spots or floaters, or having trouble with night vision.

How likely is a diabetic patient to get DR?
Whether a person will conceive the disorder depends on the duration of their illness. If they have had diabetes for more than ten years, it is likely that 60 per cent of patients will develop these complications, says Dr S K Wangnoo, diabetologist, Apollo Hospitals.

What are the conditions conducive to DR?
Patients whose sugar level is not controlled are likely to develop DR. Diabetes starts affecting the eye when the HbA1C level (the glucose level in the blood) of the person is higher than seven.

What precautions can be taken?
Dr S K Wangnoo shares some pointers that one can keep in mind to keep DR at bay.

* Keep the HbA1C level less than 7.
* Keep ‘bad’ cholesterol or LDL less than 90.
* Keep the blood pressure less than 140/80.
* Exercise regularly and get the eyes checked every year.

How is it diagnosed?
In the early stages, DR does not cause any noticeable symptoms. Therefore, it tends to be diagnosed as a result of a diabetic eye screening test. This includes a comprehensive eye exam including a slit lamp examination, a dilated retinal check, and the measure of intraocular pressure. Thereafter, additional tests like a Fundus Fluorescein Angiography (FFA), Ultrasound B-Scan or an Optical Coherence Tomography to study the structure of the eye may be done.

What is the treatment for this?
Laser treatment can be performed that focuses on retinal thickening and stopping the bleeding. The Surgical treatment is done for the advanced stages of DR. A procedure called vitrectomy is performed to correct this. In selected conditions, intravitreal injections are also given.

People experiencing blurred vision or decreased colour sensitivity need to get their eyes checked as these seemingly minor problems may actually indicate retinal diseases that account for a significant share of the vision loss burden in the world, experts have warned.

Retinal diseases often get underdiagnosed as people feel no pain when symptoms start showing up and the other eye often compensates for the poor eye, experts from the All India Opthalmological Society (AIOS) said at a workshop on retinal disease here.

Among the various retinal disorders, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic macular edema (DME) are the major types that account for about 8.7 per cent and 4.8 per cent of blindness in the world respectively.

“The common symptoms of retinal disorders like AMD include blurred or distorted vision, dark spots in central vision or straight lines appearing wavy,” said Rajvardhan Azad, President of the All India Collegium of Ophthalmology, a fellowship programme of AIOS.

“These diseases often go underdiagnosed as they get noticed only when profound loss of eye sight occurs or the patient closes one eye. It is, therefore, imperative to understand the symptoms and seek expert advice as early diagnosis can help prevent loss of vision,” Azad, who is also an eye specialist at Bharti Eye Hospital in New Delhi, said.

Early detection of AMD and DME increases the possibility of preventing vision loss, and according to Azad, treatment becomes difficult for those who have completely lost their sight.

Some of the treatment options available in India include laser photocoagulation, anti-VEGF (Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor) injections and combination therapy which includes laser and anti-VEGF treatment.

People with diabetes should be especially alert as they are more prone to develop diabetic retinopathy, Azad said.

Dr. Mahendra Sahu
Dr. Mahendra Sahu
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