The Link Between Smoking and Eye Health

The Link Between Smoking and Eye Health

The Link Between Smoking and Eye Health

man and woman in a dark room smoking

Smoking is a well-known risk factor for lung and heart diseases and cancer. Many do not know that smoking is bad for their eyes, too. Smoking can lead to several eye issues, such as uveitis, age-related macular degeneration, and cataracts. Read on to learn more.


Increased Cataract Risk


A common age-related eye problem is cataracts. When the eye lens becomes foggy, it happens. Studies have indicated that smokers have a three times higher risk of acquiring cataracts than nonsmokers. Smoking is a known risk factor for cataract development. 


Additionally, smokers who get cataracts typically do so earlier in life than nonsmokers. Hence, giving up smoking is one of the best things you can do to prevent cataracts from forming in your eyes.


Enhanced Chance of AMD


The primary cause contributing to blindness in older persons is age-related macular degeneration. The main risk factor for developing the illness is smoking. According to studies, smokers have a two- to three-fold higher risk of developing this illness than nonsmokers. Additionally, smokers who acquire macular degeneration typically report more severe symptoms and a faster rate of disease progression than nonsmokers.


Uveitis Risk Is Increasing


The central layer of the eye is inflamed by uveitis. It may result in discomfort, redness, and vision loss. Smoking can increase the risk of uveitis. According to studies, smokers have a four times higher risk of developing this illness than nonsmokers.


The Part Nicotine Plays


The addictive substance in cigarettes, nicotine, is a major factor in the negative impact smoking has on the eyes. Nicotine constricts blood vessels. The blood vessels, particularly those in the eyes, become more constricted as a result. This can lead to a reduction in the amount of nutrients and oxygen that get to the eyes, resulting in damage and illness.


Eye Health and Secondhand Smoke


Smoking-related eye issues affect more people than only smokers. Environmental or passive tobacco smoke, sometimes referred to as secondhand smoke, can harm the eyes. According to studies, those who are around secondhand smoke are more likely to get uveitis, macular degeneration, and cataracts.


Protecting Your Eyes From the Effects of Smoking


The ideal way to protect your eyes from the damaging effects of smoking is to quit smoking. If you cannot stop the habit, try to reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke each day. Seeking help from a medical professional can help you kick the habit.


As much as you can, stay away from secondhand smoke. Also, consider donning shades to protect your eyes from the sun and wind. You can maintain the health of your eyes by eating a balanced diet and having regular eye checkups.


Smoking is a significant risk factor for eye problems. The addictive chemical in cigarettes is a primary contributor to the harmful consequences of smoking on the eyes. Quitting smoking is the best way to protect your eye health. Your eyes are a very vital part of your body and well-being. Thus, ensuring their health should be your top priority.


For more about smoking and eye health, visit Clarke Eyecare Center at our Wichita Falls or Burkburnett, Texas office. Call 940-905-0700 or 940-569-4131 to schedule an appointment today.