Smoking causes long-term damage to the body, including heart disease, diabetes, and many types of cancer.

In 2014, the U.S. Surgeon General’s report, The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress, confirmed that macular degeneration, can be caused by smoking. 

Losing your eyesight joins a long list of illnesses that are linked to smoking, but we are usually not concerned since most of these only present much later in life…but let us look at the harm and discomfort smoking can cause from as early as birth!

De Jongh Optometry - Stages of life where smoking cause harm

Stages of life where smoking cause harm or discomfort as we age: 

Birth & Children

Birth defects – Women who smoke during pregnancy increase the risk of having a baby with lazy eye and facial defects involving the eyes.

Second-hand smoke – Your smoking can also cause eye issues in the people and children around you. Those exposed to second-hand smoke can also have problems with dry eye and also increase their risk of vision loss.


Dry eyes – The irritating effects of cigarette smoke can cause your eyes to become red, dry and scratchy.

Problems with contact lens wear – You may find your contact lenses aren’t comfortable – a result of the dry eye effects of smoking.

Optic Neuropathy – Smoking decreases the blood flow throughout your entire body. This can cause damage to the optic nerve.

Thyroid Eye Disease – Those who suffer from thyroid disease and smoke may develop Graves’ disease, which will swell the tissue around the eyes. This can cause bulging or protrusion of the eyes.

Vascular Disease – When you smoke it will also aid the development of a condition known as arteriosclerosis, which is hardening of the arteries. If this develops, your chances of vascular disease of your eyes are also increased. Untreated it could lead to blindness.

Golden years

Cataracts – Smoking doubles the riskDe Jongh Optometry - Cataracts Lens of changes in the lens of your eye, resulting in cloudy vision.

Age-related macular degeneration – Smoking triples the risk of this disease, the leading cause of blindness in those over age 65. It also increases the severity of the disease. Macular degeneration destroys the central vision that you need to read, drive, and see people’s faces—and it can leave you legally blind. Currently, there is no cure for macular degeneration.

Glaucoma – You significantly increase your risk of developing primary open-angle glaucoma, another leading cause of blindness.


Eye Vitamins for Smokers By Orlin Sorensen on May 4, 2013 in Food For Your EyesDe Jongh Optometry - Why smoking is bad for your eyes

As you age, your eyes will begin to deteriorate especially when you are a smoker. However, when you implement an array of vitamin supplements for the eyes, they can help to slow the deterioration process.

Many of the vitamins that promote eye health also have antioxidants that will work to improve eyesight, and that have been proven to slow the effects of macular degeneration.

When you take the proper types of eye vitamins they can help you keep your eyes at optimum health for longer periods of time. Additionally, having a vitamin regimen prior to problems occurring can also prevent many eye diseases or reduce the chances of them developing.

While there are certain vitamins that can aid the eye health of smokers, there is also some that can be dangerous and do more harm than good. Recent studies have shown that smokers who take beta-carotene (Vitamin A) supplements are at higher risk for certain diseases.

If you are smoking, firstly consider options to stop, then, make annual comprehensive eye examinations a priority. The De Jongh Optometry team can detect and treat eye conditions early to help prevent your eye health from going up in smoke!  

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Moreleta Park (012) 998 7592/3             Lynnwood  (012) 807 6027