Smoking Effects on Vision Health
  • Importance of Quit Smoking
  • Causes that Affect Eyesight
  • Ways to Enhance Vision
Smoking Effects on Vision Health

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How Does Smoking Affect Your Vision?

Undoubtedly, smoking on a daily basis may lead to several long-term negative effects on the body, such as lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Indeed, it's hard to quit the habit of smoking due to nicotine, the addictive drug in tobacco. However, people are fully aware of the side effects of cigarettes on the heart and respiratory system, but smoking can also affect the central vision. Yes, you read that right, smoking on a regular basis can make you blind.

Whether you're smoking or chewing, the consumption of tobacco is harmful and affects overall well-being. Along with nicotine, tobacco products contain more than 7,00 unsafe chemicals in cigarette smoke.

According to studies, smokers tend to develop age-related macular degeneration up to 5.5 years earlier than non-smokers. It causes blurry eyes and affects the person's central vision, making it hard for them to do everyday tasks.

How Does Smoking Lead to Vision Loss or Blindness?

As mentioned above, smokers tend to grow age-related macular degeneration up to 5.5 years earlier than non-smokers. It may cause partial blindness and make it hard to do daily tasks like driving, reading, or strolling. Even the person who spends more time with smokers will also have a higher chance of developing age-related macular degeneration due to passive smoking.

Consumption of tobacco through smoking may tend to increase the risk of harmful eye conditions and partial blindness. Studies indicate that dropping the habit of smoking and a well-rounded diet may enhance health and prevent sight loss.

Even smoking may also increase the risk of developing cataracts. Once cataracts develop, the only way to cure vision is surgical removal and renewal of the lens. Based on the research, 94 million people worldwide suffer severe distance vision impairment or slight blindness because of unaddressed cataracts.

E-cigarettes like vape, pod vapes, vape pens, and eGos may tend to higher the production of free radicals, which may lead to damage to DNA that is the cause of cataracts. However, e-cigarettes lower the blood flow to the eyes, which may also lead to developing eye cancer.

Eye Conditions Associated with Smoking

Cigarettes contain some common elements that enter the smoker's body and lungs with each breath of inhaled smoke, such as nicotine, formaldehyde, lead, arsenic, ammonia, carbon monoxide, and radioactive elements. However, these harmful toxins not only affect the lungs but also affect the other internal organs, such as the eyes.

Here are some common eye-related problems associated with smoking.

  • Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

    Smoking tends to higher the chances of developing Age-related macular degeneration (AMD). It is a condition that affects impaired central vision, making it hard for a person to do daily tasks such as driving, walking, and reading. If it's not treated, then it may lead to partial or permanent vision loss or blindness. Smoking lowers the flow of blood on retinal vessels, which may elevate your blood pressure and the risk of permanent vision loss due to either the wet or dry forms of AMD.
  • Cataracts

    Studies indicate that smoking may also increase the risk of developing cataracts at an earlier age. At present, cataracts are one of the major causes of vision loss. It develops when the cloudy layer covers the eye's lens, causing blurry vision, light sensitivity, and difficulty in seeing clearly under dim light or at night. Even consuming cigarettes on a daily basis may tend to increase the amount of free radicals in your eyes. Free radicals damage the lipids and proteins present in the eyes and cause the eye's lens - leading to cataract development.
  • Uveitis

    Indeed, smoking can increase the possibility of developing uveitis. It occurs when the eye's uvea, or central layer, becomes inflamed. It may lead to damage to the retina and iris layer and even may lead to cataracts, glaucoma, and retinal detachment - and partial vision loss if left untreated.
  • Retinal Separation

    Smoking makes the eyes and body more prone to inflammation. The enlarged blood vessels in the eyes are more brittle, more likely to break, and more likely to spill fluid. Retinal separation may happen if fluid escapes into the retina.
  • Diabetic Retinopathy

    Smoking can raise your risk of developing diabetes by up to 40%, as well as the development of diabetic retinopathy. Diabetes harms the retina's tiny blood vessels, causing them to leak fluid and blood into the eye, which can result in partial or complete vision loss.
  • Dry Eye Syndrome

    Your chance of acquiring dry eye syndrome is doubled if you smoke and are around secondhand smoke. A frequent eye ailment known as dry eye syndrome is brought on by inadequate lubrication of the eye's surface. Smoke contains toxins that irritate the eyes, causing dry eyes, which can further worsen if you wear contact lenses.

Ways to Enhance Eyesight and Maintain Eye Health

The good news is that after quitting smoking, there is a significantly lower chance of developing certain eye problems. There are steps we may take to safeguard our eyes, in addition to quitting smoking or ventilation areas where tobacco smoke has been present:

  • To keep the eye from drying out and becoming irritated, blink it frequently.
  • Use sunglasses that block UV radiation to shield your eyes from the sun.
  • When reading, utilizing displays, or engaging in other activities that require your eyes to be forced, take a break.
  • Maintain a nutritious diet to help you keep your eyesight sharp.
  • Maintain proper eye hygiene.
  • Control your blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure to look for any potential signs of eye diseases.
  • Visit your ophthalmologist for a checkup every year.


Smoking is a leading cause of death globally and kills nearly more than millions of people annually worldwide. It contains several harmful toxins and may affect the overall body health, even in the eyes. However, by quitting smoking, there is a significantly lower chance of developing certain eye problems. Indeed, it also has both short and long-term benefits.

Smoking Effects on Vision Health: FAQs

1. How does smoking damage the eyes?

Studies indicate that smoking may also increase the risk of developing cataracts and other harmful diseases related to eyes at an earlier age.

2. What is a smoking eye?

Smoking eye occurs due to a disease called Uveitis when the Uvea layer of the eye becomes inflamed (red and swollen).

3. Will my eyesight improve if I stop smoking?

Yes, after quitting smoking, there is a significantly lower chance of developing certain eye problems.

4. Does smoking darken eyes?

Smoking may cause darkened eyes and make you look aged by enhancing wrinkles and darkening the lower eyelid skin.

5. Can cigarette smoke burn your eyes?

Yes, cigarette smoke can burn your eyes and is more than a physical discomfort.

6. How can I keep my eyes protected from cigarette smoke?

To protect your eyes from cigarette smoke, consider wearing glasses, sunglasses, and goddles, particularly ones that fit closely to your face.

7. Does smoking affect dry eyes?

Yes, it is one of the most common symptoms of eye conditions in smokers.

8. What are the harmful eye diseases?

The primary causes of partial blindness and low vision are age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetes, retinopathy, and glaucoma.

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Sahil Singh Kathait

Written By: Sahil Singh Kathait

Sahil is a passionate content writer with over two years of expertise in the insurance domain. He uses his knowledge in the field to create engaging content that the customer can relate to and understand. His passion lies in simplifying insurance terminology, ensuring a hassle-free understanding for potential policyholders. With his outstanding collaborative efforts with people, he understands different perspectives and keeps readers' viewpoints at the forefront of his content writing approach.