Do You Smoke? 5 Ways It Could Be Harming Your Vision

1 April 2015
 Categories: , Blog


If you've been thinking about a smoking cessation program, you might be interested in what smoking may be doing to your eyes. You probably know that smoking causes numerous health issues, such as lung cancer and emphysema. However, smoking also causes vision problems. Here are just a few of eye diseases that smoking can cause.


Cataracts are an age-related eye disease. However, there are certain lifestyle choices that can cause some types of cataracts. Smoking can cause nuclear sclerotic cataract, a thick yellow film that develops on the entire lens. The longer you smoke, the worse the condition can become. Fortunately, the damage caused by the cataracts can be reversed if you quit smoking.

Age-related Macular Degeneration

Your eyes need a steady supply of healthy oxygen. Smoking can lead to a decrease in the oxygen supply to your eyes. Not only that but also smoking can damage the tiny blood vessels in your eyes. This can lead to an increased risk of developing age-related macular degeneration. Take a look at a few of the ways this can occur.

  • Vasoconstriction – reduces blood supply to the eye and elevates blood pressure

  • Oxygen reduction – decreases the amount oxygen in your blood

  • Thickening of the retina – tar deposits cause the retina to thicken

Graves Ophthalmopathy

If you suffer from Graves' disease, a disease associated with thyroid disease, you are at an increased risk of developing vision problems. One of those problems is Graves' ophthalmology. Studies have found that smoking can increase your chances of developing Graves' ophthalmology. To reduce your chances of developing this vision disorder, speak to your endocrinologist about smoking cessation programs that might be available to you.

Ocular Surface Disorders

Smoking can also lead to an increase in ocular surface disorders. Two of those disorders include allergic conjunctivitis and atopic keratoconjunctivitis. Some of the symptoms of these disorders are the following:

  • Reduced tear secretion

  • Cornea sensitivity

  • Severe redness

  • Chronic eye irritation

Diabetic Retinopathy

If you have diabetes, smoking can make the condition worse. It can also increase your risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, a vision disease associated with diabetes. Each time you smoke, your arteries harden. Over time, the arteries become so hardened that your eyes stop receiving the blood supply that they need. This can lead to the development of diabetic retinopathy.

If you smoke, you should speak to a doctor and optometrist, such as Dr Sanjay Khurana, about possible vision damage. Smoking cessation programs can help you stop smoking and improve the health of your eyes.