Eye Problems Can Be Exacerbated by Smoking: What you Should Know

Smoking can cause worsening eye problems

Dr. Katia Taba of Personalized Retina Care of Naples wants to educate the community on the devastating effects that smoking has on eyesight. Dr. Taba agrees with the following article published by the American Academy of Ophthalmology written by Kristen Boyd, titled, “Smoking and Eye Disease.”

Smoking tobacco (cigarettes, cigars or pipes) can cause lung disease, heart disease, cancer, and many other serious health problems. But did you know that smoking can also harm your eyes?

Here are some eye problems that are made worse by smoking:

Dry eye
This is when your eyes do not have enough—or the right kind of—tears. Smoking with dry eye will make your eyes more likely to feel scratchy, sting, burn or be red.

If you smoke, you are at increased risk for getting cataracts. A cataract is clouding of your eye’s naturally clear lens. It causes blurry vision and makes colors look dull, faded or yellowish. Cataracts are removed with surgery.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
This disease happens when a part of the retina called the macula is damaged. You lose your central vision and cannot see fine details. But your peripheral (side) vision stays normal. Sometimes medicine or surgery can help certain people with AMD from getting worse. But there is no cure. Studies show that smokers and ex-smokers are more likely to get AMD than people who never smoked.

Diabetic retinopathy
Smokers who also have diabetes risk getting diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is when blood vessels in the eye are damaged. It causes blurry or distorted vision and possibly blindness. Treatment includes medication or surgery.

Optic nerve problems
People who smoke risk having optic nerve problems. The optic nerve connects the eye to the brain. Damage to this nerve can lead to blindness.

Smoking can increase risk factors which can lead to glaucoma—a disease that affects the optic nerve.

Smoking can lead to a disease that affects part of the eye called the uvea. This is the middle layer of the eye wall. Uveitis is when this layer becomes inflamed (red and swollen). This disease causes a red eye, pain and vision problems.

Graves’ disease
This is a disease of the body’s thyroid gland. One of the symptoms of Graves’ disease is bulging eyes. Smokers who have Graves’ disease risk having their eye condition get worse. They can also lose vision.

Pregnant? Smoking can harm your baby’s eyes.
If you smoke while pregnant, your baby is 5 times more likely to get bacterial meningitis as a child. This is when tissues around the brain swell. Meningitis can cause eye infection(s) and other vision problems.

Also, smoking during pregnancy increases your risk for giving birth too early. Premature birth can lead to a serious eye problem called “retinopathy of prematurity.” The baby may have permanent vision loss or blindness.

The American Cancer Society has resources to help people who want to quit smoking.

Avoiding smoking and second-hand smoke—or quitting if you are a smoker—are some of the best investments you can make in your long-term eye health.

Personalized Retina Care of Naples
If you are experiencing any changes in your eye health, whether it is blurry vision, pain, impaired vision, or any other eye irregularities, it is imperative that you see an ophthalmologist right away. The earlier disease or disorders are detected, the better the outcome and treatment options are for you.

Personalized Retina Care of Naples provides incomparable diagnosis, medical and surgical treatment for retinal conditions and disorders. Dr. Taba is a Board-Certified Ophthalmologist and is Fellowship trained in surgical and medical retinal diseases.

There are numerous ways to regain your independence and correct vision disorders. To find out more, or to schedule your appointment, please call (239) 325-3970 today.


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