Tobacco has a toxic and harmful effect on a smokers' body, and their eyes suffer greatly. Smokers are up to 4 times more likely to have serious eye health problems than non-smokers. Smokers inhale toxins that travel to the eyes via the bloodstream. Smoking restricts blood flow to the optic nerve. In addition, smoking potentially decreases the number of antioxidants. Beneficial substances that fight various diseases. Not only does smoking harm the health of your eyes. Cigarette smoke also potentially harms the visual ability of non-smokers. Here are some of the eye diseases caused by smoking.

Macular degeneration

One in four cases of macular degeneration is caused by smoking. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in the elderly. This eye disease always starts in one eye but, in most cases, also spreads to the second eye. Patients lose vision in the middle of the visual field. Smokers are two to three times more likely to be affected by this condition.

Dry eyes

A smoker is twice as likely to suffer from dry eyes as a non-smoker. Dry eyes are caused by a lack of tear fluid on the eye's surface. Tears are needed to moisten the eyes and keep them healthy. Tobacco smoke causes red, itchy, watery eyes.


This eye disease is the leading cause of blindness. Gradually, cataracts cloud the lens, the natural lens of your eye. Smokers are twice as likely to develop early cataracts.

Eye conditions in babies

Smoking during pregnancy can cause an underdeveloped optic nerve. In addition, smoking increases the risk of premature delivery. Premature babies, in turn, are more likely to suffer from eye abnormalities.


Research shows that smoking makes uveitis worse. Uveitis is a name for all internal inflammation of the eye.


As described above, smoking restricts blood flow to the optic nerve. Glaucoma is an optic nerve disease that can lead to blindness if left untreated. It is more common in smokers than in non-smokers.

By not smoking or taking steps to quit smoking, you can reduce your risk of vision problems. If you are concerned about the effects of smoking on your vision, talk to your IRIS optometrist.