Smoking and eye health

Most people know that smoking is not good for your health, but many are surprised to learn that smokers are at an increased risk of vision loss. Cigarettes contain approximately 7,000 chemicals which enter the blood stream, damaging blood vessels throughout the body including the eyes.

Smokers are up to three times as likely to develop age-related macular degeneration (AMD) compared to those who don’t smoke and are twice as likely to develop cataracts if they smoke 20 or more cigarettes per day compared to those who have never smoked. Smoking may also worsen diabetic retinopathy in people with type 1 diabetes and can cause some eye infections in contact lens wearers. Second-hand smoke is a known irritant causing many symptoms including stinging eyes, burning or prickling sensation, watery eyes and redness in non-smokers.

If you are a smoker, make sure that you have regular eye tests every two years or as directed by an eye health professional to detect eye disease as early as possible.

The good news is that the harmful effects of smoking can be stopped and the risk of eye disease begins to decline as soon as a person stops smoking. Stopping smoking, or better still not starting, is one of the easiest ways to protect vision and prevent vision loss.

Don’t delay, Save Your Sight – Get Tested and stop smoking

For more information

Visit, contact the Quitline on 13 78 48 or speak to your GP to learn more on how to stop smoking.

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