As a nation, we can agree that smoking is bad for us. Nicotine is an addictive drug that can lead to major health issues including cancer and heart disease. It’s not easy on the eyes, either.

Smoking elevates the risk of eye conditions that can lead to vision trouble and even blindness, and that risk increases with increased smoking, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO).

And it’s not just traditional cigarettes that can cause health problems. Vaping and smokeless tobacco products like e-cigarettes are not safe either. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention list these substances contained in the aerosol from e-cigarettes: nicotine (often whether it’s listed or not), volatile organic compounds, cancer-causing chemicals and heavy metals such as nickel and lead. While the side effects of “e-juice” or flavor additives on the lungs, face, and eyes are still unknown, one commonly-reported side effect of vaping is dehydration, which can cause dry and itchy eyes. Chronically dry and itching eyes can damage the cornea, the outermost layer of the eye.

Smoking is a risk factor for these eye conditions.

The good news is that quitting smoking can reduce the risks for some eye diseases, bringing them almost as low as for people who have never smoked, according to the AAO. Do you need help quitting? The American Cancer Society is a great place to start.


Our Optical Department will close at 2:00 PM on November 20th to attend the memorial service for a dear friend and colleague. 

We apologize for the inconvenience.