Surprising Effects Of Smoking On Your Eyes

man smoking outside

You know by now that lighting up is extremely bad for your health.  But if you still give into the temptation to light up, consider this: smoking isn’t just bad for your lungs (and, well, everything else).  In fact, smoking can be seriously damaging to your ocular health and may even increase your likelihood for developing macular degeneration and cataracts earlier in your life.

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If you want to protect your eyes and vision, keep reading to know the effects of smoking on your eyes.


How Smoking Can Harm Your Eyes

In order to fully understand the harmful effects of smoking to your eyes, let’s explore the range of diseases and conditions you can experience:

  • Eye irritation is one of mildest effects of smoking, but the damage it can create can result in macular degeneration later in your life (we’ll explore this in just a moment).  Eye irritation can include chronic redness, dry eye syndrome, and the development of eye allergies.  Cigarette smoke is a dangerous irritant – and when the eye is constantly exposed to smoke, it can significantly exacerbate dryness and irritability of the eyes.
  • Macular degeneration is something many non-smokers face later in life, but smokers have four times the risk of developing macular degeneration.  The macula – which is a small part of the retina that is responsible for helping you see fine details – is surrounded by tiny blood vessels.  When exposed to the toxins contained in cigarettes, the blood vessels restrict, which makes it harder for the body to pass oxygen to the macula.  This results in the macula forming blind spots and can even lead to vision loss.

Hookah: Healthy Or Hazardous?

The carcinogens in smoke can damage the retina in the back of the eye, which can lead to blind spots, a common sign that a person is developing macular degeneration.  Unfortunately, macular degeneration is a leading cause of blindness, yet one of the most preventable.

  • Smoking can cause the arteries within the eye to harden, which is a condition known as vascular disease.  Artery-hardening is a very dangerous condition, as it can lead to vision loss and even permanent blindness.
  • Like macular degeneration, non-smokers can also develop cataracts. However, smokers increase their chances of developing cataracts, the clouding of the lenses, because it reduces the supply of antioxidants to our eyes.
  • Smokers are twice as likely to experience dry eye syndrome that non-smokers, according to a recent study by the University of Wisconsin.

If you need one more reason to quit smoking, then the preservation of your vision should be a powerful one. See your eye doctor  to discover more good health practices that will keep your vision healthy and strong for decades to come.

For more articles on eye health from Dr. Bovelle, click here