6 Ways Smoking Affects Your Eyes


Quitting smoking can benefit your overall health as well as your eyes, says Noblesville Eye Doctor, Dr. Amy Walden

We were given two eyes and it is our duty to protect them the best way we can. There are many factors that can affect your vision, some are out of our control, and may happen with age or genetics. Other factors are things we do to ourselves that can lead to not only poor vision but are unhealthy for our body overall. Smoking is one of these items that we are in control of that can harm our eyes in many ways. Your Noblesville Eye Doctor, Dr. Amy Walden & Associates have some reasons as to why quitting smoking is not only a good idea for your total body health, as well as your eyes.

How Smoking Can Affect Your Vision

Smoking, in general, is harmful to our health, but many people do not think or realize how badly it can damage your vision as well.

  • Cataracts – Smoking can double an individual’s risk of developing cataracts. The chemicals in tobacco smoke cause damage to the lens proteins and fiber cell membranes. Smoking, in general, lowers the levels of antioxidants, which helps remove damaged protein from the lens.
  • Glaucoma – Smoking increases eye pressure and also increases the risk of retinal vein occlusion. If you are already a smoker and have glaucoma, smoking makes it worse. You significantly increase your risk of developing glaucoma from being an active smoker.
  • Diabetic Retinopathy – When you are a smoker this triples the damage to the body if you have diabetes. The arteries become harder and smoking blocks larger arteries in the legs and brains. Smoking triples the retinopathy progressive rate of complications from diabetes.
  • Dry Eye – Dry eye syndrome can cause redness, stinging and discomfort to your eyes. It occurs when the eyes fail to produce enough tears to lubricate the eye efficiently. Smoking makes your eyes twice as susceptible to dry eye syndrome.
  • Age-Related Macular Degeneration – Smoking is the single most controllable risk factor which can develop into age-related macular degeneration. Since this is controllable, you can quit smoking and significantly decrease your risk for AMD. However, if you continue you are 3 times more likely to develop AMD, and after age 80, 5 times more likely.
  • Birth defects – Women who smoke put their baby at risk for multiple complications and birth defects on their child. Congenital heart defects, cleft lip and cleft palate, lazy eyes and facial defects are just a few.

If you wear contact lens and smoke, you also can experience issues from smoking. These include dry eyes and your contact lenses may not feel comfortable in your eyes.

Contact Your Noblesville Eye Doctor If You Have Questions About Your Eye Health

Understandably, smoking can be addicting to some, if you believe you are addicted, contact your local physician or groups in the area to assist in helping you quit. We would love to see you happier and healthier overall. If you are a smoker, the best way to prevent any damage to your eyes is to quit as soon as you can. However, if you continue to smoke it is important to make a comprehensive eye exam with your Noblesville Eye Doctor, Dr. Amy Walden & Associates. Many eye diseases do not show any symptoms. Having a full comprehensive eye exam can show early signs of many eye diseases. The sooner these diseases are noticed, the earlier you can begin to receive treatment or learn how to maintain them.

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