The Dean McGee Eye Institute in Oklahoma is one of the nation’s premier treatment and research facilities. I’ve known multiple people, some with complex diagnoses, who were treated at the Dean McGee Eye Institute over the years. Their research benefits not just Oklahomans, but eye patients all over the world.
That’s why I pay close attention when I see that a new study has been published by the doctors working at Dean McGee.
Smoking and cornea healing times
This month, a new study was published Cornea, the Journal of Corneal and External Disease. Doctors at the Dean McGee Eye Institute reviewed charts from a 20 year period, from 1990 to 2010, to determine what effect, if any, smoking might have on the healing time of common cornea damage.
The researchers found that there was a significant delay in the average healing times reported by smokers as compared with patients who did not smoke. Non-smoking patients with corneal abrasions, cuts or scratches to the cornea of the eye, reported an average healing time nearly 20 percent shorter than smokers; 4.8 days for non-smokers as opposed to 5.9 for smokers.
Much bigger difference for patients with keratitis
Smoking was associated with a much more dramatic difference in healing time for patients who suffered from keratitis, or an inflammation of the cornea. Those who smoked reported an average healing time of 39.4 days, whereas non-smokers keratitis had an average healing time of 15.5 days.
That means non-smokers healed, on average, in less than half the time that it took smokers to heal from inflammation of the cornea.
What this means for you
Smoking is not good for your health. It has many damaging effects, and this study illustrates just one of them. If you ever have a damaged cornea, you will want it to heal as quickly and completely as possible, and smoking may interfere with your healing and could have adverse effects on your vision.
If you already suffer from dry eyes, eye allergies, or other conditions which may make you more susceptible to cornea damage, you can at least help improve your chances of healing easily by not smoking.
If you are a smoker, and you have an eye procedure planned, talk to your doctor about any additional risks or complications that you may face following your procedure. Quitting smoking, even temporarily, may be beneficial for your eye health.
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