eyesight and smoking

What Smoking Does to Eyesight

Every organ and system in the body is affected by smoking, including your eyesight.

The main health risk associated with smoking is typically lung cancer, followed by oral health issues, but even those parts of the body not in direct contact with smoke aren’t spared from the damage. Tobacco and other chemicals used in cigarettes and vapes can also cause severe damage to your eyes. Not to mention smoking not only can effect you but also loved ones and peers when they are around. We want to draw attention to the dangers of smoking to our eyes and vision.

The dangers of smoking for age-related eye diseases

There has been considerable research demonstrating a link between smoking and eye problems, which include dry eye, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Eyesight risks associated with smoking and cataracts

As cataracts are the leading cause of blindness, smoking doubles the risk of developing them. Cataract symptoms include faded colors, blurry vision, sensitivity to light, and poor night vision. In addition, cataract surgery is both common and safe, so cataracts don’t necessarily result in permanent vision loss.

Diabetic Eye Disease and Smoking

There is clearly a connection between diabetes and eye problems such as diabetic retinopathy. Smoking increases the likelihood of developing diabetes by up to 40% and it makes other common health complications more likely too.

A condition that threatens our sight occurs when blood vessels in the retina (the lining at the back of the eye that contains light-sensitive cells) shrink. It is possible for these blood vessels to leak dark blotches into the field of vision and deprive the retina of oxygen.

AMD and Smoking

A condition known as age-related macular degeneration is a condition that causes irreversible blindness by slowly deteriorating the macula over time. The odds of having AMD three times greater for smokers compared to nonsmokers, and the odds of getting it earlier as well.

Smoking Doesn’t Just Harm Smokers

Smoking may hurt smokers most directly, but secondhand smoke can hurt nonsmokers in the form of heart disease, lung cancer, and stroke. For children, this is associated with asthma attacks, bronchitis, pneumonia, and ear infections, as well as an increased risk of SIDS.

It’s not any better to vape

The belief that e-cigarettes are healthier than cigarettes isn’t true. E-cigarette fluids contain a number of chemicals related to the vision-threatening conditions we discussed earlier. In short, there is no healthy way to consume tobacco.

Choose healthy vision; break the habit

The risk of eye disease is influenced by many factors we can’t control. Smoking is one factor we can control. Those who smoke can quit to reduce their risk, and those who don’t smoke can continue to avoid tobacco products to lower their risk. Eating healthy, exercising regularly, and scheduling regular eye exams are also great ways to promote healthy eyesight! Schedule an appointment with Dr. Medina today! 


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