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The effects of smoking on visual field threshold sensitivity

1 May 1999


Smoking affects the eye in two ways. First, by directly impacting the ocular tissues, and second, by influencing the cortical processing of visual information. Research has demonstrated that smoking causes tobacco amblyopia (currently thought to be rare), increased risk for cataract development, transient increase in intraocular pressure, and decreased density of macular pigments. Smoking has also been shown to raise critical flicker threshold, reduce contrast sensitivity, and increase visually evoked cortical potentials. We investigated the impact of smoking on visual sensitivity as measured by the Optifield I automated perimeter (Synemed Inc. Benicia, CA). 13 smokers were age and sex matched to 13 nonsmokers. Other variables such as alcohol and caffeine consumption were also matched as closely as possible. Paired t-test analysis showed no significant difference between the two groups. These results suggest that smoking has little effect on the visual sensitivity obtained clinically with automated perimetry.


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