The Problems with Eyesight And Smoking

Smoking can greatly impact on eye sight as well as cause numerous other health issues. Here we dive down and see what the problems are.

The Problems with Eyesight And Smoking

Cataracts And Smoking

Cataracts (which refers to clouding of the natural lens of the eye) are one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide.  Over 50 percent of Americans by the age of 80 will have had or have cataract surgery.

Smoking significantly increases a person’s risk for developing a cataract compared to an individual who does not smoke.  Studies in fact show that smokers doubles the chance of their forming cataracts.  Also, the more you smoke, the more the risk keeps increasing.


Macular Degeneration And Smoking

The center of the eye’s retina is affected by age-related macular degeneration (AMD).  This part of the eye is responsible for central, sharp vision that is needed for performing regular daily tasks like driving and reading.

“Blind spots” are caused by macular degeneration.  Central vision is frequently severely impaired.  Among Americans who are 65 years old and older, the leading cause for permanent vision loss is AMD.

Studies have shown that smokers are three times more at risk for developing AMD when compared with individuals who have never been smokers.  Female smokers over the age of 80 are 5 1/2 times more likely to get AMD compared to non-smokers who are the same age.

However, not everything is bad.  Since smoking is the largest controllable risk factor that AMD is associated with, quitting smoking can help to reduce your risk for developing AMD, no matter how old you are when you stop.

Quitting smoking can help to lessen the risk for developing eye conditions causing vision loss.  This infographic goes into depth.

Uveitis And Smoking

Uveitis (inflammation of the uvea, or middle layer of the eye) is a serious eye disease.  It can result in total loss of vision.

Vital eye structures are harmed, including the retina and iris.  This can lead to various complications, including retinal detachment, glaucoma and cataract.

There is evidence that shows that smoke are much more likely to have uveitis than non-smokers are, and it appears that smoking is linked to developing uveitis.  There was one study that found that the risk for having this condition for smokers was 2.2 greater.


Diabetic Retinopathy And Smoking

The retina’s blood vessels are damaged by diabetic retinopathy and may result in loss of vision.

Over 5 million Americans who are 40 years old and older get diabetic retinopathy from having type 1 or 2 diabetes.  The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that by 2050 the number will increase to around 16 million.


Smoking can double the risk for developing diabetes. 

Smoking also has a causal relationship with both the progression and development of diabetic retinopathy, as well as many other types of diabetes complications.

Individuals who smoke have as much as a four times greater chance for going blind when they are elderly.


Dry Eyes And Smoking

Dry eye syndrome refers to the eye’s surface having insufficient tears.  They are needed for keeping the eyes healthy and lubricated.  Individuals who suffer from dry eye may experience watery eyes, “foreign body” sensation, itchiness and red eyes.

Tobacco smoke can worsen dry eye and is a well known eye irritant- among second-hand smokers as well- especially for those who wear contact lens.  Smokers are twice as more likely to develop dry eyes.

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