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How Does Smoking Harm Your Vision?

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Smoking cigarettes means that you are not only intoxicating your lungs but also harming nearly every organ of your body. Major health institutes, including the CDC, report that smoking cigarettes is one of the leading preventable death causes in America.

Similar information shows that fatal health conditions and death risks are more common in smokers than people with the following conditions and factors:

  • Alcohol use
  • Firearm-related accidents and deaths
  • Prohibited drug usage
  • HIV

Your eye health is one of the major concerns when it comes to maintaining overall health and living a peaceful, healthy lifestyle. Therefore, addressing the vision-related problems and severe eye condition risks due to smoking is critical.

Why is Smoking Harmful to Your Health?

Consuming tobacco through smoking or any other form is harmful to your health. It contains highly addictive chemicals that increase the risk for chronic health conditions. When you smoke a cigarette, you expose your body to nearly 4,000 intoxicating and harmful chemical substances. Therefore, it is imperative to consider the serious impacts of such chemicals on your well-being and your eyes’ health.

How Does Smoking Affect Your Vision?

When you inhale tobacco in the form of a cigarette, harmful toxins enter your bloodstream through your lungs. These toxins can travel to nearly every organ of your body, and that’s why eyes are also susceptible. Such toxins harm the healthy cells and linings in the complex structure of your eyes. Hence, they cause a series of different eye and vision-related problems, such as cataracts, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, etc.

Common Vision-Related Problems Due to Smoking

Here’s a brief list of the major health and vision-related issues that arise due to heavy, normal, and even acute smoking habits. Take a look:

·         Cataracts

Cataracts refer to the formation of cloud-like white particles in the clear lenses in your eyes. This clouding can hinder the vision and cause partial or total vision impairment.

·         Glaucoma

With glaucoma, your optic nerve suffers from damage. This nerve is responsible for transmitting visual information to your brain in the form of signals that help form images in your mind. However, as the optic nerve fails to function, you may start to lose your vision gradually. Mainly, it occurs with the loss of side vision and is rarely noticeable without medical intervention.

·         Macular Degeneration

There are two types of macular degeneration. Dry macular degeneration occurs when the retina experiences damage from excessive fatty deposits under it. Conversely, when blood vessels around and near the retina start to degenerate, leak, or break, it is known as wet macular degeneration.

In both conditions, patients start to lose their vision either gradually or chronically, depending on the level of severity.

Tips to Help Quit Smoking

Thinking about quitting smoking? It is a good idea because we have only discussed a few of the many vision-related issues you could face due to smoking. Try to avoid interactions that involve smoking. Restricting access to cigarettes is a major step to controlling your habit, whether it is work, home, with friends, or anywhere else.

It is best to seek medical help and treatment in case the withdrawal symptoms start to impact your overall health and lead to serious symptoms.


Your health is your biggest priority when it comes to enjoying and living your life to the fullest. Vision-related problems due to smoking are a major concern. Consult a medical expert or optometrist to address the eye problems that you think are due to smoking or any other cause.

Written by Total Focus

At Total Focus Optometry, we’ve spent the last 70 years building meaningful relationships with our patients and their families. From routine eye exams to contact lens fittings we offer our patients a variety of services to meet their eye care needs.

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