Everything You Need to Know about Smoking and Eyes

Everything You Need to Know about Smoking and Eyes

Did you know smoking can harm your eyes, besides adversely affecting your lungs? Yes, your vision starts to blur, colors lose their vibrancy and reading or driving can become challenging tasks to perform. This is the reality for smokers, and sooner or later it can be a nightmare that they will forever be stuck with. 

Read this blog to lead a life with a clear eye vision and prevent conditions like irritation, dryness, and more severe eye diseases.

Specific Eye Diseases Caused by Smoking:

Cigarette smoke contains harmful pollutants that affect your eyes, leading to irritation and dryness. Both direct and indirect exposure to smoke can harm your eyes. 

Eye diseases caused by smoking include: 

1. Macular Degeneration: 

Macular degeneration is a severe eye condition that deteriorates the central part of the retina, also called the macula. This part of the eye is important to carry out activities like reading and driving. Smoking is one of the major risk factors for causing age-related macular degeneration. 

2. Cataracts:

Cataracts involve clouding of the eye’s natural lens, which can lead to vision imbalance and eventually, blindness. Smoking increases the risk of getting cataracts, as the chemicals in cigarette smoke can blur up the lens due to oxidation.

3. Dry Eye Syndrome:

Dye eye syndrome is another disease that occurs when your eyes fail to produce enough tears. Smoking worsens this condition, causing increased dryness and irritation due to the eye’s direct contact with smoke. 

The toxins in the cigarette smoke have the potential of damaging blood vessels in the retina and may lead to inflammation and reduced blood flow. 

High Risk Groups for Smoking-Related Eye Issues

Smoking can be extremely harmful as discussed above, however, there is a certain group of people that come under the “most risk” category. These people are most likely to be infected with a dangerous type of eye disease. 

1. People with Diabetes: 

Diabetics are one of the most risk groups among smokers. They are specifically prone to diabetic retinopathy, a condition caused by damage to the blood vessels of the eyes. Contrary to this, in case there’s someone who suffers from dry eyes, their eyes are likely to get drier and more prone to eye irritation.

2. Pregnant Women: 

Smoking is particularly harmful during pregnancy as it has the potential to cause premature birth and may increase the risks of the baby developing an eye disorder also known as retinopathy of prematurity. This condition can result in retinal detachment and permanent blindness. In addition to this, babies born to mothers who smoke are up to five times more likely to get meningitis, or even other kinds of eye problems. 

Read the retinopathy of prematurity blog to get an in-depth understanding of the disease and its possible treatments.

3. Children 

Smoke exposure also affects children of all ages. Both direct and indirect smoke discharge is a threat to a child’s eye health. The problems caused by smoke may cause thinning of the choroid (a layer of retina containing blood vessels), which puts your baby’s eyes to risk.

Protecting Your Eyes from Smoke

There’s always a bright side to letting go of things that don’t benefit our eyes, quitting smoking being one of them. Once you quit smoking, the risk of you developing such eye disorders can reduce drastically.

Some habits that you could incorporate to protect your eye health are as follows: 

  • Quit smoking or avoid being a passive smoker (breathing in the smoke released by other people’s cigarettes)
  • Blink frequently to prevent eye irritation and dryness if any
  • Always wear a pair of sunglasses that provide UV protection for your eyes.
  • Take regular breaks while performing activities that strain your eyes, such as reading or using screens
  • Wash eyes with clean water and avoid rubbing it
  • Control blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose levels to identify eye problems at an early stage
  • Book annual appointments with your ophthalmologist for check ups

By quitting smoking and taking such preventive measures, you will succeed in protecting your eyes and reducing the risk of catching threatening eye diseases.

Free Your Eyes From Vision Problems with Prasad Netralaya: 

Smoking risks are not just minor risks. They can lead to irreversible conditions like macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and retinopathy of prematurity, among others. However, by quitting smoking and adopting a healthy lifestyle, you can reduce these risks, drastically.

If you’re experiencing serious vision problems or need an eye checkup to test your eye condition, schedule an appointment with Prasad Netralaya Hospital.

Our experts are here to provide end-to-end eye care solutions and will therefore help you protect your vision for a brighter future.

Take the first steps towards healthier eyes today by consulting the best eye care specialists in town!


1. Is quitting smoking good for your eyes?

Quitting smoking provides numerous health benefits, including improved eye health. When you stop smoking, your eye health tends to get better and you become less prone to developing eye conditions like cataracts and diabetic retinopathy.

2. Which part of our eyes is sensitive to smoke?

The cornea i.e., the clear front part of the eye, that transmits the light that enters our eye, is most irritated by the smoke. The cornea needs to be moist in order to maintain clarity, however, in a smoky and dry environment, tears evaporate rapidly, resulting a lack of moisture in your eyes. 

3. Does smoking dehydrate your eyes?

Tobacco smoke takes away the moisture of your eyes, contributing to an eye disease called dry eye syndrome. This not only affects those who smoke but also the ones exposed to second-hand smoke, increasing their risk of developing dry eye syndrome.