Effects of Smoking and 2nd Hand Smoke on Your Eyes

The Effects of Smoking and 2nd Hand Smoke On Your EyesWe all know that smoking is bad for you, but did you know that the chemicals in cigarettes can harm the most sensitive part of the retina, called the macula. Your vision can be irreversibly damaged when cells of the macula die or tiny blood vessels burst through it.

And this isn’t just for those who smoke, it deals with everyone who experiences second hand smoke. Many non-smokers experience the irritating effects smoking has on their eyes, from burning, watering, and itchy eyes to name a few, but little did they know, there are more effects than that.

What Smoking Can Do to Your Eyes and Vision

  • Smoking causes inflammation of conjuctiva (the thin membrane covering the eye). Thus results in bloodshot eyes and also irritated eyes.

  • There is a direct link between cataract and smoking. Smokers are at risk of developing cataract.

  • Smoking is also linked to the eye disease referred to as macular degeneration. Macular degeneration is caused by cardiovascular disease and is a major cause of blindness in the West. Smoking causes cardiovascular disease.

  • One needs to quit smoking to avoid the progress of diabetic retinopathy.

  • Blood vessels shrink or get constricted due to smoking causing glaucoma as well as optic nerve damage.

  • Chemicals get into the blood stream and burst through the macula (central part of the retina) or the cells in the macula die slowly. It eventually leads to loss of vision.

Getting rid of the smoking habit is the best way to protect one’s eyes. It is difficult to do so, but after all who wants to go blind. However, even if you find a method to quit smoking yourself, you still have to deal with second hand smoke from other people.

Suggested Ways to Quit Smoking

For some people smoking is simply a bad habit that they have gotten into. However, for some people smoking can be an addiction. For these people it becomes even more difficult to stop smoking. Many laws have been passed recently in the United States that prevents any smoking in work places or public areas such as restaurant and bars. These laws have drastically reduced the exposure to second hand smoke.

Nicotine patches and gums have also been shown to help some people stop smoking. These can be expensive and they don’t always work for all smokers. However, if you truly want to stop smoking they can help to reduce your craving for nicotine which is one of the main reasons people continue to smoke.

In recent years companies have developed electronic cigarettes which use water vapor and a nicotine mix to replace cigarette smoke. For some people these are an effective alternative to cigarettes and contain none of the damaging additives that cigarette smoke contains. They are also safe to use even around people who do not smoke. As an added benefit there is no heat or fire with this option so there is no chance of a fire being started accidentally. 

Some people turn to prescription drugs to help them stop smoking. If this option appeals to your talk to your medical professional to find out more about the options you may have. Be sure to talk to them about possible side effects from the drugs.

Are There Other Dangers to our Vision from Smoking?

While it may not actually effect your vision, you should be careful when taking vitamins or supplements that contain vitamin A if you are a smoker. Vitamin A is necessary for eye health and it is often included in eye supplements and eye vitamins. If you are a smoker, talk to your doctor before starting any vitamin or supplement.

Many people think that it is simply a matter of people not wanting to quit. This may not be the case at all. If you have tried all the methods you can find to try and quit smoking and they just aren’t working for you, at least try to take your smoking outside the house. Remember that you risk not only your own vision but that of your family as well if you are smoking in your home.

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About Orlin Sorensen

My vision started to get blurry as a young teenager. Soon I was wearing glasses for just about everything. This was a hard blow for me because I had always dreamed of becoming a U.S. Navy fighter pilot which required perfect vision without glasses or surgery. But I wasn't ready to give up on my dreams, so I looked into every possible alternative which led me to eye exercises. Through daily vision training and eye exercises, I improved my vision from 20/85 to 20/20 and passed the Navy's visual acuity test. In fact Men's Health declared this one of the "Greatest Comebacks of All Time!" Now, I'm sharing exactly how I did it with the program that helped me so people like you can improve your vision safely and naturally, without glasses, contacts or laser surgery.

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14 comments to Effects of Smoking and 2nd Hand Smoke on Your Eyes
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  1. Terry wade #

    Yeah I tottaly agree with this article. I have to sit with people at work that smoke and even when they come in from smoking they are still emittng the chemicals and it burns my eyes. I have asked to be moved but my office manager smokes to and she doesn’t see the problem, so I am at a loss of what to do. If anyone has any advice please let me know.

  2. Katherine #

    I would just tell your manager you are allergic and your doctor told you to stay away from 2nd hand smoke

  3. ShaneOss #

    Quit your job, or move to Australia. Smoking will be outlawed here soon. Almost banned from smoking anywhere.

  4. soleh #

    Luckily I’m not smoking, but still I need to wear spectacles

  5. Sadiqtamanna #

    Very useful article. But how to avoid 2hand smoking? I would also like to know whether using tobacco in other ways like chewing “pan” will have any bad effect on eyes

  6. JPJ #

    Thank you so much. I have been dabbling with smoking and not really enjoying it. This news will stop this horrible habit once and for all. Is there any type of eye wash/flushing agent that can remove second hand smoke from your eyes?

  7. Terry,

    I agree with Katherine, however, I would visit your doctor and ask for a note to give to your manager.

    Sadiqtamanna,

    Chewing or “pan” doesn’t contain the chemicals that is released from cigarette smoke, so I don’t believe that chewing would hurt your eyes, but it’s still not a healthy habit.

    JPJ,

    No better time then now to stop smoking. :-) I don’t believe there is any eye wash specifically for 2nd hand smoke. Just avoid it, quite smoking, and you should be fine.

    Your eyes are an AMAZING part of your body. Take care of them, exercise them and relax them.

    To your vision — for life,

    Orlin

  8. JPJ #

    Dear Mr Sorensen,

    The email series is just great. I have started drinking more water and already my eyes feel better. Also cutting down the stress level is something new to me that you have pointed out. I am looking forward to each new email message.
    Thank You

  9. E.F.H #

    Does drinking a lot of water really help your eyes?

  10. Hi E.F.H,

    Our body is made up of mostly water and when you are dehydrated, your body (which includes your eyes) won’t preform at it’s highest level. Drinking water sometimes reduces the symptoms of dry eyes. Drinking water will also keep your eyes lubricated which will help with keeping out unwanted material and protect your eyes. So drink up!

    To your vision — for life,

    Orlin

  11. WALDEMAR #

    I had this problem many years ago –> and the fights were intensive –> ultimately, two of us who were the only ones who didn’t smoke –> sued the the “hospital” (yes the hospital we worked at) and the court case gave us significant compensation as well as they were required to change workplace safety requirements…..

    As a passively effected person the onus is NOT to prove the tobacco company at fault but that the workplace can be certain that no ill befalls you…….

    A vastly different issue legally.

  12. Susi #

    For those of you that smoke or have smoked within the past 5 years, make sure you ask for supplements that DO NOT contain Vitamin A…studies are ongoing with smokers taking Vitamin A and that linkage to ‘lung cancer’.

  13. Dariusz #

    Athor forget that dose make poison and from SHS person absorb 100 times less chemicals than smokers get. Also CVD http://www.smokershistory.com/etsheart.html So claming that SHS do the same what regular only shows incompetence of author. P.S I search on internet about your program in users opinions and from that conclusion is that this is scam, also http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/eyequack.html

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