Scientists are warning that people who smoke are in danger of damaging their eyes. The scientists say smokers are two times more likely to lose their vision than non-smokers. Everyone knows that smoking can damage the lungs and heart, but not many people know it could damage the eyesight. The scientists are from the Association of Optometrists (AOP) in the United Kingdom. The AOP has started a campaign to raise awareness of the danger of smoking to the eyes. The campaign is called "Stub it out". The word "stub" means put out a cigarette by pushing the end against something hard; "stub it out" is saying, "stop smoking". The AOP said only one in five people thinks smoking can damage the eyes.
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The AOP explained why smoking is so harmful to the eyes. Cigarette smoke gets in the eyes and causes or worsens a number of different eye problems. Cigarette smoke contains toxic chemicals that can irritate and damage the eyes. Smoke contains tiny pieces of metals like lead and copper. These can get into the eyes and lead to cataracts - a condition that causes the eye lens to become cloudy. People with cataracts usually need an operation to restore their sight. Smoke can also increase the chance of worsening sight problems for people with diabetes. The AOP said smokers are also three times more likely to damage the eyes' muscles. The AOP has encouraged smokers to quit.