Are You a Smoker? Why Your Eye Doctor Needs to Know

Much like a checkup with your physician, optometrists will ask you a series of questions about your health and your habits. Although it can be tempting to hide certain facts about your health and your habits such as smoking, it's important to be truthful with your eye doctor.

Like your regular physician, your optometrist is asking these questions to determine if your vision or your health is at risk. While hiding the fact that you smoke may seem like a rather small omission, it's one that could cost you your vision. Here's why your eye doctor needs to know if you're a smoker.

Smoking and Eye Disease


However, your eye doctor shouldn't be someone from whom you hide your smoking. In addition to its many other adverse health effects smoking can also damage your vision. In fact, smoking increases your risk of developing several different eye diseases—any of which could rob you of your sight. As a smoker, your habit places you at serious risk for certain eye diseases such as

  • Cataracts, which is a cloudy deposits on the lens of the eye
  • Uveitis, or a swelling of the inner portion of the eye
  • Age-related macular degeneration, which is basically damage to the retina of the eye

Although it's true that simply growing older can increase your risk for these eye diseases, being a smoker certainly doesn't help. In fact, smokers are twice as likely to develop Uveitis and cataracts and three times as likely to develop age-related macular degeneration. All three of these diseases can result in permanent blindness.

It's also important to note that as a smoker, you're also more likely to develop diabetes that can lead to diabetic retinopathy, another serious eye disease.

Given that smoking can cause a number of eye diseases, it's time to come clean about your habit. Armed with this new information, your optometrist will have a clearer picture of your overall health as well as the risks to your vision. He or she may suggest that you schedule an annual visit to detect any early stages of eye disease.

While coming clean about your habit and visiting your eye doctor once a year may not seem ideal, it is the best way to protect your vision from the smoking related risks that could otherwise cause you to go blind. Learn more about how to better preserve your vision by contacting local clinics such as Bethany Vision Clinic.