How does smoking affect your sight?

Smoking increases free radicals, which accelerate aging, and cause harm to the tissues of the eye. Smoking alters the body’s ability to absorb or extract necessary vitamins and minerals from food.


Research has confirmed the harmful effects of smoking on eyesight, particularly in the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts.  Smoking doubles your chances of sight loss and you tend to develop it earlier than non-smokers.

Did you know that people who smoke are twice as likely to develop age-related macular degeneration (AMD)? International research shows that the risk to your sight is increased by anything from two to four times.

People who have a family history of AMD and smoke are up to 144 times more likely to develop the disease.

Smoking is the only proven cause of AMD that people can do anything about but most people are unaware of the link and have not heard of the condition.

Smoking is also associated with other eye diseases including nuclear cataract. If you have diabetes, smoking increases your risk of vision loss. Smoking is also a preventable risk factor for the development of cataracts. Smoking can make diabetes related sight problems worse.

What happens if I stop smoking?

Treatment options for AMD are limited. The good news is that if you stop smoking, the risk of losing your sight decreases over time. Research has shown that people who stopped smoking 20 years ago only have a similar risk of developing AMD as non-smokers.

What if I smoke and already have AMD?

Ophthalmologists recommend that if you have AMD you should stop smoking.