Women who smoke during their pregnancy are more likely to have a child who squints.
Maternal smoking during pregnancy has been associated with an increased risk of strabismus in the unborn child. "Smoking during pregnancy is an important public health problem, especially in developed countries, and its effects on children's eye health deserve our attention," said research director Dr. Zuxun Lu (Huazhong University). , in China).
A common condition in children
Strabismus is a visual problem in which the eyes are not aligned properly and point in different directions. Thus, one eye can look straight ahead, while the other eye can turn inward, outward, upward or downward.
Strabismus is a common condition in children. About 4% suffers. For an individual with strabismus, two different images are sent to the brain. In a young child, the brain learns to ignore the image of the strabismus eye and therefore sees only the image from the other eye, but the individual loses the perception of depth. In some cases of strabismus, the glasses may be prescribed to help the child correct the alignment. Surgery may also be necessary to correct asymmetric eye muscles or to remove cataracts. *
+ 79% risk
A meta-analysis of 11 scientific papers on the issue found that smoking during pregnancy increased the risk of strabismus by 46%. From 10 cigarettes per day, the same risk increased by 79%, which is considerable. 4,833 patients with strabismus were included in the research.
Esotropia and exotropia, two different forms of strabismus, appeared in the children of smokers. "Overall, smoking during pregnancy was associated with a significantly increased risk of offspring strabismus, and the result was similar in subgroup analyzes, indicating that quitting smoking is essential for pregnant women and those who are preparing for it, "conclude the researchers.
16.9% of women still smoke in the third month of pregnancy
Today in France, 16.9% of women still smoke in the third month of pregnancy. The factors associated with the risk of consuming tobacco during this critical period are essentially a lower level of education, lower incomes and age (under 30 years).
Beyond strabismus, the more women smoke during pregnancy, the more common these problems are:
• Ectopic pregnancy.
• spontaneous miscarriages.
• Vaginal bleeding.
• Poor position of the placenta, premature detachment of the placenta, retroplacental hematoma.
• Premature rupture of membranes and premature delivery.
• Growth retardation in utero with a lower mean birth weight of the baby (children born to smokers weigh 200 grams less than children born to non-smokers).
• Increased delivery complications for the baby and the mother.
• Increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (multiplied by 3).
• Decreased breast milk production and passage of nicotine into breast milk.
* Source: strabismus.org.