5 eye-related issues every smoker should be aware of

Smokers often overlook the serious risks smoking poses to their eyes, potentially resulting in blindness.

5 Eye-Related Problems Every Smoker Should Know

The detrimental effects of cigarette smoking on the body are widely acknowledged. From the lungs to the heart, smoking exerts its influence in numerous ways, often causing irreversible damage. Additionally, smoking can significantly impact eye health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking is linked to the development of severe eye conditions that can result in vision loss or blindness. This article highlights five eye-related problems associated with smoking.

Cataract Risk

Cataract Risk

Dry eye syndrome typically occurs when the eyes produce inadequate or poor-quality tears, or when tears are not produced at all. This condition leads to dryness, irritation, and redness in the eyes. Smoking exacerbates these symptoms and can worsen the syndrome. Smokers are at a twofold increased risk of developing dry eye syndrome compared to non-smokers.


Uveitis, characterized by inflammation in the middle layer of the eye, has been linked to cigarette smoking, as highlighted in a 2015 study published in the National Library of Medicine. The compounds present in cigarettes induce inflammation in blood vessels, contributing to the onset of uveitis and compromising the immune system.

Dry Eye

Dry Eye

Generally, dry eye syndrome occurs when your eyes fail to make quality tears or make no tears at all. This condition cause dryness, irritation, and redness in the eye. The smoke of cigarettes further aggravates this and worsens the syndrome. Smokers are at twice the risk of developing dry eye syndrome than non-smokers.

Macular degeneration associated with aging

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a condition impacting central vision, with smokers being three times more prone to it than non-smokers. This condition leads to difficulty in clear object perception and hinders common tasks such as reading, driving, and recognizing faces. Smoking accelerates its onset by a decade compared to non-smokers.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetes is recognized for its association with severe eye conditions, with diabetic retinopathy being one of them, stemming from both type one and type two diabetes. Smoking amplifies the risk of developing diabetes by up to 50%. Additionally, smokers face nearly double the risk of diabetic retinopathy compared to non-smokers.

What actions can you take

Apart from contributing to various diseases, smoking can result in permanent vision loss or even blindness. Therefore, the most direct path to maintaining good health and well-being is to quit smoking. Doing so can prevent the progression of eye disorders. Additionally, adopting healthy habits for your eyes is crucial:

  • Consume leafy greens, fruits, and foods abundant in vitamins E, C, and beta-carotene.
  • Maintain healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
  • Stay physically active and engage in regular exercise.
  • Schedule regular eye exams and consult with a doctor for any eye-related concerns