‘People who smoke get nuclear cataract’

Chennai: “People who smoke more than 20 cigarettes a day have chances to get nuclear cataract,” says A P Irungovel, patient educator and counsellor with Sankara Nethralaya.

According to him, a person washing the clothes of a smoker is prone to get cancer.

“Smoking in public space is an offence. However, many of them are unaware of it,” he says.

Irungovel further says that it is commonly believed that cataract occurs due to old-age. “Smoking plays a huge role in causing nuclear cataract which is also proved by a research done at Sankara Nethralaya,” he adds.

Cigarettes and beedis contain cadmium, nicotine and 4,000 other toxic chemicals which enters the blood stream.

“When cadmium is mixed with the blood superoxide dismutase and another enzyme present in the lens would get affected. As a result of which it hampers the oxygen flow in the eyes. It affects the lens and affects the process of light penetration through the lens and ends in having hazy vision,” he states and adds that smokers get nuclear cataract soon.

Biochemistry researchers accept that eye problems are caused due to cadmium. “All the chemicals slowly affect the oxygenisation and result in vision problems. Hence it affects the young smokers. It also causes age-related macular deggeneration, diabetic retinopathy, uveitis and neuro ophthalmic disorders,” he adds.

Irungovel cites the recent survey conducted by Prevent Blindness America and says, “When they analysed the mothers of children with congenital cataract, they found that the mothers were smokers too.”

He concludes that smoking affects several generations.

NT Bureau