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Newspaper Article - Smoking and Vaping – LAS

It is universally known that smoking cigarettes is harmful to just about every system and organ in your body, and this includes your eyes!

The harms of smoking cigarettes to your eyes and vision has been well-studied, but what about the trendier habit of vaping? The risks of vaping is less well-known, but there is reason to believe that vaping causes some of the same physical damage as seen with cigarette smoking. Smoking is known to increase the risk of these conditions:

  1. Dry Eye Syndrome. Smoking cigarettes doubles the risk of experiencing dry, irritated (burning, gritty) red eyes. The exhaled aerosols (aldehydes, nicotine, diacetyl) from vaping are believed to contribute to dry eye symptoms as well.
  2. Macular Degeneration (AMD). Smoking is a huge risk factor for this condition – smokers have a two to four times increased risk of developing this sight-threatening disease.
  3. Diabetic and Hypertensive Retinopathies. Your risk of diabetes and high blood pressure are greater if you smoke, as are the complications and risk of bleeding and leakage from the small blood vessels at the back of the eyes.
  4. Cataracts. The oxidative stress caused by smoking hastens cataract development – a clouding of the lens in the eye – via long-term damage to the crystalline proteins of the lens.

f you are currently smoking or vaping, keep in mind that the sooner you quit, the quicker your body can rebound and repair itself. Talk to your doctor about which smoking cessation program or tools would be best for you.

You may think your eyes are fine, but the only way to know for sure is by getting a full eye exam. Your Doctor of Optometry can check for early signs of macular degeneration, cataracts, dry eyes, and assess the health of the blood vessels in your eyes, allowing for earlier interventions and treatments to keep you seeing well into the future.