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Posted on 09-30-2016

How Smoking Impacts Your Eyes Explained by Your Katy Optometrist

Smoking can impact eye health in many detrimental ways. Some of the side effects and damage associated with this behavior can be significant and irreversible on the health and well-being of eyes. Even being exposed to second hand smoke can cause the same undesirable effects that you should consider when speaking to your Katy optometrist.

man rubbing eyes before going to see a Houston Optometrist

Smoking can be the cause or contribute to many eye diseases in both children and adults. In addition to causing general discomfort and irritation, smoking can cause Cataracts, Macular degeneration, Vascular Disease which affects the eyes, Optic Neuropathy, Thyroid Eye Disease, and Glaucoma.


People that smoke heavily (15 or more cigarettes a day) are three times more likely to be diagnosed with Cataracts. Cataracts cause the lenses of the eye to cloud over and can cause blurry or dimmed vision. Cataracts are also the leading cause of blindness in the world.

Macular Degeneration

Smokers are three to four times more likely to develop Macular degeneration. People who are exposed to second hand smoke are twice as likely to develop Macular degeneration. The good news is that those who have discontinued their habit have had their chances of developing this disease revert back to normal. This condition slowly degrades the part of the eye that perceives fine details and can completely degrade your central line of vision.

Hardened Arteries

Inhaling tobacco smoke can cause arteries to harden. This can lead to vascular disease which can impact eye health in many negative ways. Vascular disease can cause optic nerve damage, vision loss, and blindness.

Optic Neuropathy

Optic Neuropathy is often caused when a smoker's blood flow has decreased throughout the body, causing damage to the optic nerve of the eye. It can appear quickly and with little warning. If it isn't treated promptly it can lead to irreversible blindness.

Thyroid Eye Disease

Thyroid Eye Disease can occur when someone with thyroid disease smokes. Graves' disease is a popular form of this condition and is marked by swelling and inflammation of the eye. Additionally, Graves' disease can cause eyes to bulge out of the eye sockets.


According to optometrists, glaucoma risk factors include high blood pressure, cataracts, diabetes, and tobacco smoke inhalation. It is a disease of the eye that is characterized by optic nerve damage and an increase of fluid in the eye. Glaucoma can lead to blindness if it is left untreated for too long.

Both first hand and second hand smoke can have many highly negative and life impacting effects on overall eye health and vision. The chances of contracting some of these eye related ailments can decrease over time when a smoker discontinues their habit. Visiting and talking to an optometrist about the effects of tobacco smoke on eye health can be very beneficial in choosing to quit and helping to alleviate some of the chances of eye disease. Contact our office today to learn more.

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