Sustained, direct eye contact to smoke from tobacco and vape products can severely impact your eye health.

Smoking is the largest preventable cause of disease and death in the United States. It is very harmful to your body — affecting every single organ. Most people think of the lungs when it comes to smoking, but it also affects your eyes and eye health. Many eye conditions and diseases can be caused by smoking. The Boston Vision team warns their patients of the side effects of taking part in smoking.

How Does Smoking Affect the Eyes?

Although it is not commonly known, smoking can cause many problems with the eyes. These eye diseases and other conditions include:

  • Dry Eye: Smoking can cause the eyes to feel scratchy, itch, sting, or burn and look inflamed.
  • Cataracts: These are a clouding of your eyes, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it’s one of the greatest threats to eyesight.
  • Macular Degeneration: This occurs when the macula is damaged and causes you to lose central vision.  Smoking is the #1 modifiable risk factor for age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
  • Diabetic Retinopathy: This occurs when blood vessels in the eye become damaged. It causes blurry, distorted vision, and vision loss and blindness.
  • Uveitis: This is a disease of the middle layer of the eyewall. It can become inflamed.
  • Optic Nerve Problems: Smoking can lead to problems with the nerve that connects the eye to the brain.
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): Studies have shown that less oxygen gets to the retina which can cause damage to the retina and optic nerve and cause central vision problems.
  • Grave’s Disease: Also known as thyroid eye disease, this affects the body’s thyroid gland; some of the symptoms are bulging eyes and loss of vision.

How Does Smoking Affect Your Baby’s Eye Health?

Not only does smoking and cigarette smoke affect your health and your eyesight, but it can also affect your baby’s. If you smoke while pregnant, your baby is 5x more likely to develop bacterial meningitis; this can cause eye infections and other problems with vision and can lead to vision loss if left untreated.

There are many resources to help you quit smoking. Talk to a Boston Vision team member. There are numerous community organizations that are committed to helping people quit smoking.

To schedule your appointment, book online with us or email us at to get started.

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