Smoking tobacco (cigarettes, cigars or pipes) is infamously known to cause lung disease, heart disease, and cancer. But I bet you had no idea that smoking can affect your eyes. Here are some eye issues that can develop from smoking:
This occurs when your eyes do not have enough or the right kind of tears. When you smoke with dry eyes it will make your eyes more likely to feel scratchy, sting, burn or be bloodshot.
If you smoke, you are at increased risk of getting cataracts. A cataract is the clouding of your eye’s normally clear lens. It causes hazy vision and makes colors look dull or faded. Cataracts are almost always removed with surgery.
Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD):
This happens when a part of the retina called the macula is ruined. You lose your central vision and cannot see in perfect clarity, such as fine details. But your peripheral (side) vision remains the same. Sometimes medicine or surgery can aide certain people with AMD from getting worse. But there is no known cure. Studies show that smokers and ex-smokers are more likely to get AMD than individuals who have never smoked.
If you have diabetes and smoke you are at risk of getting diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is when blood vessels in the eye are damaged. It causes blurry or distorted vision and possibly blindness. Treatment includes medication or surgery.
Optic Nerve Problems:
If you smoke you risk having optic nerve problems. The optic nerve tethers the eye to the brain. Damage to this nerve can lead to blindness. When you smoke it can increase risk factors which can lead to glaucoma. Glaucoma is a disease that can directly affect the optic nerve.
When you smoke it can lead to a disease that affects the part of the eye called the uvea. This is the middle layer of the eyewall. Uveitis is when this layer becomes inflamed (red and swollen). This disease causes pain, bloodshot eyes, and vision problems.
This is a disease of the body’s thyroid gland. One of the symptoms of Graves’ disease is bulging eyes. Smokers who have Graves’ disease risk having their vision get worse. There is also a possibility they can lose vision. Quitting smoking can help save your vision.
Smoking can harm your baby’s eyes. If you smoke while pregnant, your baby is 5 times more likely to get bacterial meningitis as they grow up. This is when tissues around the brain swell. Meningitis can cause eye infection(s) and other vision issues. Also, smoking during pregnancy increases your risk of premature birth. Premature birth can lead to a detrimental eye problem called “retinopathy of prematurity.” The baby may have permanent vision loss or blindness.
Smoking tobacco (cigarettes, cigars or pipes) can make eye problems worse. Glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, and dry eye are some of these problems. Also, a baby’s eyes can be affected if the mother smokes during pregnancy.