What impact does smoking have on eye blood vessels?

Frequently Asked Questions

What impact does smoking have on eye blood vessels?

Smoking constricts blood vessels and impairs blood flow, including the vessels that supply the retina. This can lead to ischemic conditions, increasing the risk for glaucoma and other sight-threatening diseases.

Smoking has several detrimental effects on eye health, primarily through its impact on blood vessels in and around the eyes. Here’s how smoking affects these blood vessels and overall eye health:

  1. Blood Vessel Damage: Smoking can cause damage to the blood vessels in the eyes, leading to constricted vessels. This reduces blood flow, depriving the eyes of essential nutrients and oxygen. Over time, this can contribute to the deterioration of eye health.
  2. Increased Risk of Cataracts: Cataracts, a condition characterized by clouding of the eye’s lens, are more common in smokers. The harmful substances in cigarette smoke can alter the cells of the lens, accelerating cataract formation.
  3. Higher Risk of Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD): Smoking significantly increases the risk of developing AMD, a leading cause of vision loss in older adults. This condition damages the macula, the part of the eye responsible for central vision. The exact mechanism is not fully understood, but it’s believed that the toxins in cigarette smoke can affect the delicate blood vessels of the retina.
  4. Risk of Diabetic Retinopathy: For people with diabetes, smoking can exacerbate diabetic retinopathy, a condition where high blood sugar levels cause damage to the retina’s blood vessels. Smoking worsens blood flow, making it more difficult for the body to repair these vessels.
  5. Glaucoma Risk: There is evidence to suggest that smoking may increase the risk of glaucoma, a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve. The exact link is not fully understood, but it is believed to involve increased oxidative stress and impaired blood flow.
  6. Dry Eye Syndrome: Smokers are more likely to experience dry eye syndrome, characterized by insufficient lubrication on the eye’s surface. This can lead to discomfort, redness, and blurred vision.
  7. Optic Nerve Damage: The optic nerve, which is crucial for vision, can be damaged due to the reduced blood flow and increased oxidative stress caused by smoking. This can lead to vision loss.


In summary, smoking adversely affects eye health in multiple ways, primarily through its impact on blood vessels. This leads to an increased risk of various eye diseases, some of which can result in significant vision loss. Quitting smoking can greatly reduce these risks and improve overall eye health.

What impact does smoking have on eye blood vessels?

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West Edmonton Vision Clinic

Visit our vision clinic in central West Edmonton for comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fittings, glasses, and more. LL Eyecare Centre is dedicated to providing the highest quality optometric services and products to our patients. Our team of experienced optometrists is here to help you with all of your eye care needs. Schedule an appointment today!

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