Colour vision deficit is primarily inherited to boys via the mother (refer Genes are inherited Blog )
However other factors can come into play as well which we have mentioned in previous Blogs – Colour Vision Deteriorates With Age
However, there are also other factors that can affect colour vision – like smoking. We all know that smoking is bad and luckily smoking rates are decreasing. Though there will always be smokers and different countries have different attitudes to smoking and it is still prevalent.
Published in the journal ‘Psychiatry Research,’ noted significant changes in the smokers’ red-green and blue-yellow colour vision. This suggests that consuming substances with neurotoxic chemicals, such as those in cigarettes, may cause overall colour vision loss.
The researchers looked at how participants discriminated contrast levels (subtle differences in shading) and colours while seated 59 inches from a 19-inch cathode-ray tube monitor that displayed stimuli while researchers monitored both eyes simultaneously.
The findings indicated significant changes in the smokers’ red-green and blue-yellow colour vision, which suggests that consuming substances with neurotoxic chemicals, such as those in cigarettes, may cause overall colour vision loss. They also found that heavy smokers had a reduced ability to discriminate contrasts and colours when compared to the non-smokers.
“Cigarette smoke consists of numerous compounds that are harmful to health, and it has been linked to a reduction in the thickness of layers in the brain, and to brain lesions, involving areas such as the frontal lobe, which plays a role in voluntary movement and control of thinking, and a decrease in activity in the area of the brain that processes vision,” said co-author Steven Silverstein, director of research at Rutgers University Behavioural Health Care.
“Previous studies have pointed to long-term smoking as doubling the risk for age-related macular degeneration and as a factor causing lens yellowing and inflammation. Our results indicate that excessive use of cigarettes, or chronic exposure to their compounds, affects visual discrimination, supporting the existence of overall deficits in visual processing with tobacco addiction.”
Although the research did not give a physiological explanation for the results, Silverstein said that since nicotine and smoking harm the vascular system, the study suggests they also damage blood vessels and neurons in the retina.
Our Optometrist Ian Rosser said that smoking as well as affecting colour vision, it has toxic effects on the eye, the crystalline lenses hardens, it affects contract sensitivity, where things don’t look as sharp, plus you can have early onset of cataracts. Smoking is lethal to your whole body.
- Thiago P. Fernandes, Steven M. Silverstein, Natalia L. Almeida, Natanael A. Santos. Visual impairments in tobacco use disorder. Psychiatry Research, 2019; 271: 60 DOI: 1016/j.psychres.2018.11.024