How Does Smoking Affect Your Vision?

When people think of the health risks associated with smoking tobacco, lung cancer is usually the first thing to come to mind. But, did you know that smoking can cause damage to much more than just your lungs? Optical patients who smoke cigarettes are often at a higher risk for eye-related diseases and complications. Here are some ways smoking can affect your vision:

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration is an optical disease that can cause irreversible blindness in patients and is the leading cause of vision loss among Canadians. It involves the deterioration of the central part of your retina (the macula) which is where we see the sharpest detail. Research has shown that smokers are at triple the risk for developing age-related macular degeneration and are more likely to develop it earlier in life than nonsmokers.


Cataracts is an optical condition which involves the lens of the eye becoming progressively opaque, resulting in blurred vision and ultimately blindness. In fact, cataracts are actually one of the leading causes of blindness around the globe.

Patients who smoke cigarettes have double to triple the risk of developing cataracts. Symptoms can include double vision, reduced night vision, light sensitivity and even blurred vision. While most cataracts cases can be reversed by surgically removing them, it is best to prevent them from forming in the first place by reducing or eliminating smoking habits.


Retinopathy is a common optical condition that affects patients with diabetes by causing damage to the blood vessels in the retina, eventually bleeding into the eye. Those that smoke cigarettes are up to 40% more likely to develop diabetes; tobacco use can also speed up the progression of diabetic retinopathy.

Are you a current or former cigarette smoker? Wondering if your habit has caused any damage to your eyes or vision? Contact Seema Eye Care Centre in Calgary today! We would be more than happy to evaluate your eyes and assess your optical health and vision.