Smoking and Sight Loss

Eye test

The facts

The link between smoking and the UK’s leading cause of sight loss is as strong as the link between smoking and lung cancer.

Smoking doubles your chances of losing your sight:

• Smoking causes harm to the tissues of the eye. Research has confirmed the harmful effects of smoking on eyesight, particularly in the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) – one of the UK’s leading causes of sight loss – and cataracts.

• Smokers double their risk of developing AMD, and tend to develop it earlier than non-smokers. Treatment options for AMD are limited. Stopping smoking can reduce the risk of macular degeneration developing.

• Smoking is linked to the development of cataracts, and although they are treatable and therefore do not lead to blindness, they remain a major cause of sight loss in the UK.

• Smoking can make diabetes related sight problems worse.

• Smoking increases free radicals, which accelerate ageing, and alter the body’s ability to absorb or extract necessary vitamins and minerals from food.

• Passive smoking is almost as harmful as smoking yourself.

Support to help you quit

The NHS Smokefree website is full of tools and advice to help you quit and stay smoke free.

If you want friendly help and advice on how to quit ring Quitline on 0800 00 22 00 and speak to a trained QUIT counsellor.

Visit WeQuit for information to help you quit or join a Stop Smoking Forum with thousands of quit buddies.


If you have any concerns about your eye health then please book a consultation

Source: RNIB

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