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Smoking and Eye Health: How it Affects Your Vision

Smoke is a major risk factor for leading causes of blindness, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts. Tobacco exposure both directly and indirectly causes harm to our eyes. Let’s break down how smoking affects our vision so we can better understand the dangers of smoking and eye health.

Cataracts & Macular Degeneration
Smoking increases the risk of developing cataracts—a clouding of the eye’s lens which blocks light from entering and distorts vision. The same study links smoking to AMD, a condition that causes blurred central vision in one or both eyes. The risk for smokers is four times greater than for nonsmokers. In addition, a person who smokes cigarettes daily doubles their risk of developing AMD.

Secondhand Smoke Risks  
We often overlook the dangers posed by secondhand smoke, but its effects on eye health can be just as significant as firsthand smoke exposure. Children are especially vulnerable to this, since they spend more time around secondhand smoke than adults do and have less developed immune systems which make them more susceptible to disease and infection. Studies have shown that children exposed to secondhand smoke are at an increased risk for myopia (nearsightedness), strabismus (crossed eyes), dry eye syndrome, and even blindness in extreme cases.

Eye Exams Are Key
If you’re a smoker or exposed to secondhand smoke regularly, schedule an annual comprehensive dilated exam with your optometrist or ophthalmologist as soon as possible. Early detection is key in managing serious eye diseases like AMD, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and more which can lead to permanent vision loss if left untreated. During this exam your doctor will perform tests to check your overall eye health such as visual acuity tests and tonometry tests to measure pressure within the eye.  They may also use ophthalmoscopy or ultrasound imaging scans to get deeper insight into how healthy your eyes actually are.

We all need healthy eyesight - it's essential for living life fully! Smoking directly damages your eyes over time - putting you at a higher risk of developing cataracts & macular degeneration - while even second hand smoke can affect those around you negatively too! It's important stay aware of the risks posed by smoking & take preventative measures like scheduling regular comprehensive dilated exams with your optometrist or ophthalmologist! By understanding these risks ahead of time you will be more likely be able to protect yourself from any future damage caused by tobacco use!