The Risks Smoking Has on Eye Health

Smoking Effects on the Eyes

Smoking can harm every system in your body, including your eyesight.

When we think of the risks that most commonly come with smoking, our first thought is lung cancer. Our following thoughts might be oral health problems such as blackened gums, but most times, we never think about how smoking could affect our vision. In this blog, we are going to describe the multiple ways that smoking can harm the eyes.

Smoking & Age-Related Eye Diseases Go Hand In Hand

Many studies show smoking increases the risk of developing an eye condition significantly from those as simple as dry eye to more severe conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Cataracts and Smoking

When you smoke, the risk of developing cataracts doubles. As the world’s leading cause of blindness, the symptoms include light sensitivity, faded colors, poor night vision, and double or blurred vision. Fortunately, with the technology we have developed, cataract surgery has become more common and very safe and means you don’t have to lose sight permanently.

Diabetic Retinopathy and Smoking

Diabetic retinopathy, as you can probably tell from its name, is associated with diabetes. When you smoke, it increases the likelihood of developing diabetes by as much as 40% in an individual. Smoking can also make complications of diabetes more likely, which includes retinopathy. Retinopathy is when you hav weakened blood vessels in the back of the eye, which can leak blothes into your field of vision and then starve your retina of oxygen, therefore, threatening your vision.

AMD and Smoking

In our eyes, there is a part called the macula. The macula is a part of the retina and is responsible for our most detailed and sharpest vision. As we get older, age-related macular degeneration becomes more common. When this condition happens, the macula deteriorates over time and causes irreversible blindness. When you smoke, you are three times more likely to develop AMD than those who don’t smoke. As a smoker, you are also more likely to develop it years earlier than you might have otherwise.

You Can Be Affected, Secondhand Smoke

As a smoker, you will experience the worst impacts yourself. But you are also affecting those around you who might not smoke, from your secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke can increase the risk of lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke in nonsmokers. It can also lead to ear infections, bronchitis, asthma attacks, pneumonia, and even an increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome in children.

Is Vaping Safer?

While vaping can be safer than cigarettes, there are still many impacts it can have on a persons body. Some of the chemicals in e-cirgarette liquid have been linked to many of the sight-threatening conditions described above. This means, there is basically no safe way to consume tobacco.

Break the Habit and Choose Healthy Vision

Now that you know more of the risks that are associated with smoking, you shouldn’t be surprised that it can cause vision loss. While we can’t stop ourselves from aging, we can help ourselves age better by avoiding smoking or quitting, no matter what age you are. By quitting and avoiding, we are reducing the risk for eye diseases.


Your overall health and eye health go hand in hand!

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