A person smoking and the eyes of a woman

How Smoking Affects Your Vision And Eye Health

Smoking is the single leading preventable cause of death worldwide –killing nearly 8 million people every year, among which more than 600,000 are passive smokers! The negative effects of smoking on health has long been known but only a few people are aware of the amount of harms smoking can do to your vision and eye health.

A hand holding a cigarette

The most common health effects associated with smoking or exposure to smoke are heart disease, respiratory disease and even cancer. However, more studies over the years have shown how smoking can increase the risk of many eye disorders, such as age-related macular degeneration, blindness, cataracts, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy and Dry Eye Syndrome. And this is not only subjected to smokers but to those who may be frequently exposed to cigarette smoke.

How Does Cigarette Smoke Affect Your Eyes? 

Cigarette or tobacco smoke contains toxins that not only affect and damage your heart and respiratory health but your eye health as well. The toxins that are inhaled when smoking ends up in the bloodstream which is then distributed throughout the body including the eyes. Excessive exposure to these toxins can lead to dry eye, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy, uveitis, cataracts, optic nerve problems, thyroid orbitopathy, or even blindness if not treated in time.

Moreover, apart from affecting your eyes internally, cigarette smoke can also directly affect the tissues around your eyes which can cause puffy eyebags, yellow eyes, as well as disorders of the eyelids, such as irritation and inflammation, and other skin disorders that can affect the eyes.

The worst thing about this is that it not affect just the person who is smoking but also the people who are exposed to the smoke, aka secondhand smokers.

Eye Conditions Associated With Smoking

       1. Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry Eye Syndrome is a common eye condition caused by the insufficient amount of tears on the eye’s surface, which are needed for the healthy lubrication of the eyes. This can often lead to itchiness, redness, irritation of the eye, as well as watery eyes. Smoking causes irritation and dryness of the eyes and can even worsen the symptoms of this condition, especially if you wear contact lenses.

       2. Cataracts

Cataract is one of the leading causes of vision loss globally. It describes an eye condition where the eye’s naturally clear lens becomes cloudy, causing blurry vision or vision loss. And although mostly associated with old age, studies have shown that smoking can double the risk of developing cataracts at an early age. It increases the number of free radicals in the eyes, causing deposits to form on the eye’s surface, which leads to the development of cataracts.

       3. Uveitis

Uveitis is a serious eye disease that is caused by an inflammation of the eye’s middle layer, or the uvea. This can lead to redness of the eye, pain or more complications such as cataract, glaucoma and vision loss, if left untreated.  The toxins in cigarette smoke can contribute to the development of this eye disease and studies have also shown that individuals who smoke have a 2 times greater risk of developing uveitis, comparing to non-smokers.

       4. Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

A man working on the laptop at night

Age-related macular degeneration is an eye condition that affects the centre of the retina, severely impairing central vision. This makes reading, driving or seeing things, in general, extremely difficult. Over time, if left untreated, this can result in permanent vision loss and blindness. Studies have shown that smoking can increase the risk of AMD up to 4 times, and female smokers above 80 years the same age.

       5. Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is one of the many complications relating to diabetes. It is a condition when diabetes damages the tiny blood vessels in the retina, causing blurry or distorted vision, or even partial blindness or total vision loss over time. Studies have shown that smoking can increase the risk of developing type-2 diabetes up to 40%. This can only mean that the chances of developing diabetic retinopathy or progression of the condition will also likely increase with smoking.

       6. Infant Eye Disease

Women who smoke during their pregnancy can transmit harmful chemicals to the placenta, potentially affecting the unborn child. Besides giving birth prematurely, smoking during pregnancy increases the chance of many fetal and infant eye disorders, such as strabismus (cross-eyes) and underdevelopment of the optic nerve, which is a leading cause of blindness in children, among other serious health problems.

What You Can Do to Prevent Vision Loss?

Besides kicking the unhealthy habit of smoking, there are many ways you can help protect your eye health and prevent vision loss. You can do so by visiting your eye care professional regularly, staying active, controlling blood pressure and cholesterol levels and eating a well-balanced diet, especially ones which includes green leafy vegetables, fruits and foods high in vitamins C, E, and beta carotene that supports eye health. 

Support Healthy Vision with Healthy Natural Supplement

One excellent way to boost eye health and prevent vision loss is by including healthy antioxidant-rich supplements in your diet. Visiongold Juice by Preserva Wellness is one such natural supplement that enriches eye health and improves your vision with natural goodness and nothing more! Visiongold Juice contains a blend of potent Ayurvedic ingredients such as Aloe Vera, Triphala, Carrot & Curcumin to bring forth a refreshing, eye-healthy juice that will improve eyesight, prevents negative effects of smoke-induced eye conditions, and treats all sorts of conditions relating to the eyes with no side effects!

The Bottom Line

Smoking does more harm to our health than helping it, and this is quite evident in our lives, including the many scientific pieces of evidence that have supported this claim. It not only damages our organs but our eye health as well. And on top of this, the negative effect of it is not experienced just by the individual who smokes but also by the people around it. It may not be an easy and simple task, but quitting smoking at any age can reduce your risk of developing many sight-threatening eye conditions. It is never too late to quit smoking and enjoy the benefits of a healthier lifestyle and, ultimately, a healthier body.

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