Smoking can also be bad for your eyesight

It is well known that smoking is bad for your health causing lung disease, heart disease, cancer and many other health problems, but did you know that smoking can also be bad for your eyes?

In studies smokers have been shown to be twice as likely to develop eye diseases when compared to non-smokers.

Here are the top 5 eye conditions that are made worse by smoking:

1. Cataracts

Cataracts develop as you get older and are the result of the eyes naturally clear lens going cloudy, this causes blurry vision and makes colours look dull, faded or yellowish. While cataracts are part of the normal aging process you are more likely to develop them earlier if you are a regular smoker.

2. Age-related Macular Degeneration (ARMD)

The macular is the area of the eye responsible for the sharpest part of your vision, in age-related macular degeneration this area becomes damaged resulting in difficulty with fine detail and sometimes the loss of central vision. While ARMD is also traditionally associated with getting older smokers have two to three times the risk of developing ARMD compared to those who have never smoked.

3. Diabetic Retinopathy

Smokers with diabetes are at a significantly higher risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is caused by changes in the blood vessels of the retina, in some cases the vessels swell and leak fluid; it can cause new abnormal blood vessels to grow which can leak blood into the back of the eye, resulting in blurred or distorted vision and possibly blindness.

4. Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)

A TIA or “mini-stroke” is the most common cause of temporary vision loss, it may only last a few minutes but they should never be ignored as almost 15% of patients who survive the first attack will suffer another within a year. Smoking increases the risk of suffering from a TIA.

5. Dry eye

Dry eye occurs when your eyes don’t produce enough, or the right quality of tears. Smoking with dry eye will make the eyes feel scratchier, sting, burn or be red.


Always consult a qualified optometrist to confirm a diagnosis!

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