24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (877)SAFEGBC or (877)723-3422 Mental Health & Substance Abuse Issues

6502 Nursery Drive, Suite 100
Victoria, TX 77904
Fax: (361)578-5500

Child & Adolescent Development: Overview
Basic InformationMore InformationLatest News
Are Antibiotics a Recipe for Obesity in Childhood?This Year's Flu Season Taking Deadly Aim at KidsWhy Are Fewer U.S. Kids Going to Pediatricians?Severe Deprivation in Childhood Has Lasting Impact on Brain SizeHealth Tip: What Your Child Can do About BullyingWildfires Send Kids to ERs for Breathing ProblemsTV Can Be a Good Influence on Kids' Eating HabitsWould Tighter Swimming Rules at Public Beaches, Lakes and Rivers Save Lives?U.S. Doctors Often Test, Treat Kids UnnecessarilyHealth Tip: Safety Steps if Your Child is Home AloneHealth Tip: Help Your Child Safely Lose WeightAmericans Need to Tackle Youth Obesity: U.S. Task ForceGenes, Family Are Key Predictors of School SuccessKids' 'Microbiome' May Play Key Role in AsthmaA Puppy in Santa's Sack? Probably Not, Say ParentsMore Kids, Teens Landing in ERs After Opioid OverdosesGetting Active Helps Kids' Hearts, Even in the ObeseWhen Does Your Child's Flu Merit an ER Visit?Health Tip: Managing Hearing Loss in ChildrenHealth Tip: Is My Child Too Sick to Go to School?Differences Found in Brains of Kids Born to Depressed ParentsSecondhand Smoke Starts Kids on Path to Heart Disease: StudyHealth Tip: Choosing a PediatricianMany Kids Traveling Overseas Aren't Vaccinated Against MeaslesCould Obesity Alter a Child's Brain Structure?Dramatic Rise in Eye Injuries From BB and Paintball GunsTwo-Thirds of Child Abuse Survivors Do Well as AdultsAHA News: Serious Heart Defects Increase Heart Failure Risk in Early AdulthoodMore U.S. Kids Are Shunning Sweetened DrinksAs Disease Outbreaks Tied to 'Anti-Vaxxers' Rise, States Take Action'Don't Give Up:' Parents' Intuition Spots a Rare Illness Before Doctors DoFDA Approves First Contact Lens That Slows Myopia ProgressionStereotypes About Girls and Math Don't Add Up, Scans ShowStudies Confirm HPV Shot Is SafeThese Sports Are Most Likely to Send Young Americans to the ERNature Nurtures KidsClimate Change Will Hurt Kids Most, Report WarnsTough Childhoods Can Leave a Lifetime of Harm, Experts SayMany U.S. Parents Can't Find a Psychiatrist to Help Their ChildAnti-Vaxxers Find Ways Around States' 'Personal Exemption' BansMake a Plan for Gardening Next Spring With Your KidsCheck Those Halloween Treats So They're Safe to EatFast-Food Outlet in Neighborhood Could Mean Heavier Kids: StudyAntihistamines Linked to Delayed Care for Severe Allergic Reaction: StudyPain Twice as Common for Kids With Autism: StudyPediatricians' Group Calls for More Research on Artificial SweetenersExperts Support Weight-Loss Surgery for Very Obese KidsHalloween Can Be Frightful for Kids With Allergies, AsthmaLawn Mowers May Be Even More Dangerous for Rural KidsHow Young Is Too Young to Leave Kids Home Alone?
Questions and AnswersLinks
Related Topics

ADHD: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Childhood Mental Disorders and Illnesses
Child Development & Parenting: Infants (0-2)
Child Development & Parenting: Early (3-7)

Secondhand Smoke May Harm Kids' Eyes

HealthDay News
by By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter
Updated: Oct 21st 2019

new article illustration

MONDAY, Oct. 21, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Smoking around kids may harm their vision as their eyes are still developing, a new study suggests.

Secondhand smoke has long been linked to increased risks for cancer and stroke in adults, and asthma, lung infections and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in children, according to the American Cancer Society. Now, added to these is the risk of changes in the eye that may cause vision problems in kids.

Specifically, researchers in Hong Kong found that children who were exposed to secondhand smoke had thinning in the choroid, a layer of tissue that contains tiny blood vessels that nourish the eye.

"Our results suggest a potential harmful effect of secondhand smoking on children's ocular health and development," said lead researcher Dr. Jason Yam, an associate professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

One possible result of the thinning is maculopathy, a progressive loss of central vision, usually in both eyes, he said.

This study, however, doesn't prove that secondhand smoke causes the choroid to thin, only that the two are linked.

For the study, Yam and his colleagues measured choroidal thickness in 1,400 children, ages 6 to 8, some of whom had been exposed to secondhand smoke.

They found that children exposed to secondhand smoke had a thinner choroid than others.

The degree of thinning was directly related to the amount of secondhand smoke children were exposed to, Yam said. Exposure to smoke from one cigarette per day was linked with roughly a half-micron of thinning, the researchers found. A micron is one-millionth of a meter.

On average, children exposed to secondhand smoke had choroids that were 8 microns thinner in the center and 6 to 7 microns thinner at the edges than kids who had not been exposed.

Parents who smoked also had thinner choroids, Yam's team found.

The findings are concerning, according to Dr. Luxme Hariharan, a pediatric ophthalmologist at Nicklaus Children's Hospital in Miami. The ages 6 to 8 are a key stage in vision development, she said.

"Once you're 10, changes can be permanent," Hariharan said. "Anything abnormal can cause a permanent problem in the visual pathway as it's forming -- that's why this age group is key."

Although it isn't proven that secondhand smoke causes permanent eye damage, it's better if kids aren't around it, Hariharan said.

"In general, it's probably not a good idea to have our kids exposed to it," she said. "But we still need to look at the exact causal relationships."

Hariharan noted that exposure to secondhand smoke puts adults at risk for age-related macular degeneration and other vision problems. This study says the possibility of damage to kids' eyes also can't be ruled out, she added.

"We have to protect kids, so I would encourage parents and families to be careful," Hariharan said.

The report was published online Oct. 17 in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology.

More information

To learn more about the effects of secondhand smoke, visit the American Cancer Society.