Smoking and Eye Health

Our Mt. Pleasant Eye Doctor Talks About Smoking and Eye Health

H. Arnold Papernick OD is your go-to Mt. Pleasant eye doctor for all your eye and vision care needs. Our optometry team has been proudly serving the surrounding communities for nearly 50 years, providing the highest standard of ocular care to all patients. Whether you're in need of a routine eye exam or treatment for a serious eye condition, our experienced and skilled eye care team is here to assist you.

There are many lifestyle choices that can affect your eye and vision health, such as choosing not to protect your eyes from the sun's harmful UVA and UVB rays with sunglasses. However, what many people don't realize is the link between smoking and eye health. Specifically, cigarette smoking can have serious consequences for your ocular health.

How Smoking Can Affect Your Eye Health

More than likely, you already know about some of the most common health risks associated with smoking. These include lung cancer, mouth cancer, and heart disease. What you may not know about are the many ways in which this habit can gradually affect your eyes and vision—in many cases, permanently.

Macular Degeneration

Did you know that smokers are at a greater risk of developing macular degeneration? This is a condition that results in blind spots in your vision, which could eventually prevent you from being able to drive a vehicle or perform other basic tasks. Specifically, studies have shown that smokers are three times as likely to develop this serious eye condition than those who don't smoke. And for smokers over the age of 80, the risk is 5.5 times higher.

Dry Eyes

Tobacco smoke is an eye irritant that can cause or even worsen existing dry eye. This condition occurs when your tear ducts aren't able to produce enough moisture to keep your eyes lubricated. As a result, you may suffer from irritation, red eyes, and a feeling of having something (like sand or grit) caught in your eyes. When you're a smoker, this condition is twice as likely to affect you.


Cataracts refer to clouded spots on the lens of your eye that can result in blurry vision. This condition is common in people age 60 and older, and is also common among those who have had prolonged sun exposure to unprotected eyes. However, if you're a smoker, research has shown that you could be as much as two times as likely to develop cataracts in your lifetime compared to those who do not smoke.

These are just a few of the ways that smoking can permanently damage your eyesight and overall eye health.

Schedule an Appointment With Our Mt. Pleasant Eye Doctor

If you're a smoker and haven't had an eye exam in the past year, we highly recommend seeing our Mt. Pleasant eye doctor at H. Arnold Papernick OD for an appointment. You can reach our office at (724) 547-5711 to find out more or set up your exam today.