Smoking and Its Effects on Vision: Why Quitting Is Good for Your Eyes

by: Advanced Laser | September 22, 2014

A lit cigarette, which is extremely hazardous to a person’s visionBy now, the general effects of smoking on health are well known. Did you know, however, that smoking can have a profoundly negative effect on your vision, as well?

At Advanced Laser & Cataract Center Oklahoma, our state-of-the-art eye care center, we believe that our patients need to understand all of the facts about how they can improve and maintain the health of their eyes. During consultations between our esteemed ophthalmologist, Dr. John Belardo, and his patients, a variety of topics are discussed in detail, including, in relevant cases, smoking and its effect on vision. In Oklahoma City, there is no eye care practice more dedicated to the thorough education and well-being of its patients than Advanced Laser & Cataract Center Oklahoma.

Eye Conditions Associated with Smoking

Smoking increases the risk of numerous disorders and diseases, including the following vision conditions:

  • Macular degeneration: According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, smokers are more than twice as likely as non-smokers to develop macular degeneration, a condition in which the central part of the retina that is responsible for the perception of fine details begins to deteriorate. People with macular degeneration can experience distortion of or even blind spots in their central vision.
  • Cataracts: Smokers who smoke 15 or more cigarettes per day face roughly three times greater risk of developing cataracts than non-smokers. The connection between smoking and cataracts is particularly well known; the more you smoke, the higher the risk that your natural crystalline lenses will become clouded and eventually require surgical removal.
  • Glaucoma: While there is no known direct link between smoking and glaucoma, there is a proven link between smoking and diabetes, high blood pressure, and cataracts – all of which are risk factors for glaucoma.
  • Dry eye syndrome: Smokers are more than twice as likely to develop chronic dry eye syndrome as non-smokers. The good news is that dry eye syndrome often resolves fairly quickly once smokers give up the habit.
  • Diabetic retinopathy: Smoking doubles the risk of diabetes, and dramatically increases the risk of comorbid diseases once diabetes has set in. Among these comorbidities is diabetic retinopathy, an eye disease in which the blood vessels of the retina change. They may swell and leak, or they may seal off entirely. In some cases, new, abnormal vessels may even grow on the surface of the retina.

How to Avoid Smoking-Related Eye Conditions

The number-one step you can take to avoid smoking-related eye conditions is, not surprisingly, to stop smoking. We understand that this is not easy, especially if you have been smoking for a long time. However, with each year that passes after you quit smoking, your urge to smoke will decrease, as will your risk of smoking-related eye conditions. There are plenty of resources available to help you kick the habit, and your eyes – and the rest of your body – will thank you for doing it.

Contact Our Eye Care Practice

To learn more about smoking and its effect on vision, please contact Advanced Laser & Cataract Center Oklahoma today.