How Smoking Can Cost Your Vision

by Dr Antonio Howell, MD

in side effects

Dr. Howell

It is known to almost everybody that cigarette smoking and tobacco use is linked to several health issues, or that it’s among the leading cause of preventable death around the world. But less are known about the damaging effects of smoking to the eyes and, eventually, to your vision.



Studies revealed that tobacco use and cigarette smoking can actually contribute to particular vision-threatening disorders. Smoking affects your eyes and vision, and the effects can be significant. Exposure to tobacco smoke not only damages your health but also increases your risk of eye diseases and disorders. Below are 10 ways how smoking affects your eyes and later, your vision.


Beauty Female Eye With Curl Long False Eyelashes

  1. It is among the common causes of blindness for people over 40 and is the primary cause of vision loss in the world. Smoking doubles your risk of developing cataracts, which may result to hazy vision and if remained untreated may result to blindness.
  1. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This disease affects your central vision that allows you to see things clearly, especially when reading or driving. Smoking triples your risk of developing AMD, the leading cause of vision loss for people over 60. Cigarette smoking also intensifies the severity of AMD.
  1. The condition where your eyes fail to maintain the balance between the production and loss of intraocular fluid. Smoking significantly increases your risk of developing an open-angle glucouma.
  1. Diabetic retinopathy. If you’re diabetic, smoking worsens your condition and its complications, including the changes in your blood vessels in the eyes. This condition may also lead to blindness.
  1. Dry eyes. Cigarette smoke contains thousands of harmful and potent chemicals that can irritate your eyes. It dries your eyes too and causes it to feel scratchy. It is also another cause of red eyes.
  1. Problems with wearing your contact lenses. Wearing contact lenses may not be very comfortable if you’re a smoker. Cigarette smoke dries your eyes more quickly, as a result wearing contact lenses will be very uncomfortable and may even cause corneal ulcerations, which can also lead to vision loss.
  1. Graves’ disease. Cigarette smoking and tobacco use can increase your risk of developing eye problems related to thyroid disorder. Nicotine harms anything it touches.
  1. The swelling of the middle layer of your eye. Cigarette smoking doubles the risk of uveitis which can also lead to glaucoma and cataracts.
  1. Lazy eyes. Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of babies developing lazy eye and other facial defects.
  1. Harmful effects to other people. Second hand smoke is as dangerous as smoking, it is even more harmful in some cases. Second hand smoke can cause eye irritation, dryness, and redness to people around you, and may suffer the same risk as you are.

Not a smoker? That’s great. But if you’re a smoker, it is best for you to quit smoking as soon as you can, and make sure to have a comprehensive eye examination at least once a year. Early detection and treatment of any eye problem can help prevent the degeneration of your eyes, and avoid possible vision loss.


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