Smoking can damage your vision and that’s no secret. Smoking cigarettes are extremely bad for your health and with over 74,000 UK deaths attributable to smoking in 2019 alone, it is the biggest preventable cause of death worldwide.

Smoking can affect many parts of our body, from our lungs, hair, mouth all the way up to our eyes and smoking is the biggest risk factor for developing age-related macular degeneration – the most common cause for blindness in the world.

Research suggests that a smoker is 4 times more likely to develop age-related macular degeneration than a non-smoker, that is a huge risk! With over 4,000 chemicals in a single cigarette, your retinal cells with age much faster as smoking lower the levels of antioxidants and your body’s ability to protect itself.

As well as macular degeneration, smokers are about 3 times more likely to develop cataracts a major sight-threatening condition. Scientists believe that smokers may be more susceptible because of the metals found in tobacco smoke can gradually build up in the eye. The longer and more frequent a person smokes, they are increasing the chance of developing cataracts.

Aside from these serious sight-threatening conditions, smokers are also more likely to encounter sight problems if they wear contact lenses. This is because their corneas run a greater risk of becoming irritated, which can seriously affect vision if they subsequently become infected. The good news, however, is that all these risks start to drop as soon as you stop smoking and they decline steadily the longer you don’t smoke.

There are many ways to help stop smoking, the NHS provide excellent free help and advice to all those who need it. If you are considering stopping smoking, talking to your GP and having a step-by-step guide will help you accomplish long-term goals.

This article is intended to inform and give insight but not treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a doctor. Always seek medical advice with any questions regarding a medical condition.