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Smoking Can Harm Vision

It’s common knowledge that smoking tobacco can increase the risk of developing heart disease, lung cancer, emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, but did you know that smoking can also seriously harm your eyes?  For example:


  • Smokers are four times more likely to go blind in old age.
  • Smoking has been directly associated with about 25% of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which can cause severe vision loss and even blindness.
  • Some studies suggest that people who live with a smoker double their risk of developing AMD from inhaling second-hand smoke.
  • People who smoke tobacco double their risk of developing cataracts.
  • Smoking during pregnancy also increases the risk of the baby developing strabismus (crossed eyes), retinopathy of prematurity, as well as other health problems.
  • Children exposed to tobacco smoke have a 20% greater chance of developing allergic conjunctivitis.

So if you’re a smoker, make a commitment to quit and take advantage of the many available resources to help you do so.  1-800-QUIT-NOW is a free, phone-based service with educational materials, coaches, a quit plan, and referrals to local resources to help you quit tobacco use.