Chirasree Saha, B.Optom

Intern Optometrist, Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital, Delhi, India



Smoking tobacco is one of the leading issues that have created a negative effect on the human eye. Smoking induces dissimilar ocular conditions such as cataract formation, and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and increases in intraocular pressure. The effects of smoking cigarettes are largely unknown to human beings, hence, this blog aims to educate smokers about eye diseases.

Discussion of overseeing cause of blindness (AMD and Cataract)

The population-based study revealed several risk factors that arise from smoking in high populations (1). Most cataracts are caused by degeneration of the lens proteins (crystalline) which comes with ageing. Harmful chemicals of tobacco represent an influence on eyesight in more than 22% of the population (2). Oxidative deterioration of the RPE (Retinal Pigment Epithelium) contributes to the expansion and advancement of AMD, and alterations in metabolic sponsorship of RPE cause apoptosis of photoreceptors (3). Moreover, it can be justified that AMD is a complicated multifactorial disorder associated with genetic and environmental risk elements. Compared to the impact of smoking, cataract patients have trouble seeing at night and cloudy vision. Whether AMD assembles a major reason is loss of central vision and needing more light to get a vision of nearer items.

Smoking increases oxidative stress, which damages the delicate tissues of the retina and contributes to the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) (4). Additionally, smoking constricts blood vessels in the eye, which reduces the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the retina and exacerbates the damage caused by oxidative stress.

Impact of Smoking on increased intraocular pressure

IOP measurements are quite conditional on corneal thickness. Based on the controversy it can be argued that the optimum correction algorithm has assisted to increase IOP measurement for CCT (5). Nicotine, the main component in cigarettes, raises catecholamine levels, leading to increased heart rate and blood pressure. Elevated blood pressure affects eye fluid production and hampers drainage systems which result in higher intraocular pressure (IOP) (6). This heightened intraocular pressure can potentially harm the optic nerve. So, it’s essential to be aware of these risks when smoking cigarettes. Some individuals with normal eye pressure can also be the reason for high eye pressure that develops glaucoma. Normal IOP range is 10-20 mmHg (7). But comparing data over the last 30 years can illustrate that smokers contain slightly higher (above 21 mmHg) intraocular pressures compared to non-smokers (8).

Effect on eyesight due to smoking

According to the WHO (World Health Organization) smoking and tobacco are two of the major reasons leading to death and disability of eyesight (9). Smoking cigarettes and tobacco contains more than 4000 chemicals (e.g., acrolein, catechol, hydrogen cyanide, pyridine etc.). (10) The youth generation, the age group of 16-25 are considered victims of smoking which is quite effective for decreased eyesight. Considering multiple studies, it can be argued that, chain-smoking has compelled an increased rate of blindness because of smoking cigarettes. Tobacco currently deals with 8 million people worldwide already leading to the way of vision loss due to smoking (11). However, non-smokers (passive smokers) can also be victims of smoking which leads to diabetic retinopathy and dry eyes.


The most efficacious way to communicate health risks to smokers is with comprehensive, encyclopaedic, graphical, fear-arousing designations, thus encouraging them to quit smoking to enjoy an extreme vision. This set of writing has revealed an in-depth discussion that demonstrated the impact of tobacco and smoking. Research and ethics indicate that smoking cigarettes causes glaucoma and blindness in human eyesight through damaging eye nerves. Smoking is currently associated with expanded total retinal consistency.



  1. Fransen, E., Topsakal, V., Hendrickx, J. J., Van Laer, L., Huyghe, J. R., Van Eyken, E., … & Van Camp, G. (2008). Occupational noise, smoking, and a high body mass index are risk factors for age-related hearing impairment and moderate alcohol consumption is protective: a European population-based multicenter study. Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology, 9, 264-276. DOI:
  2. Velilla, S., García-Medina, J. J., García-Layana, A., Dolz-Marco, R., Pons-Vázquez, S., Pinazo-Durán, M. D., … & Gallego-Pinazo, R. (2013). Smoking and age-related macular degeneration: review and update. Journal of ophthalmology, 2013. DOI:
  3. Cohen, E., Kramer, M., Shochat, T., Goldberg, E., Garty, M., & Krause, I. (2016). Relationship between body mass index and intraocular pressure in men and women: a population-based study. Journal of glaucoma, 25(5), e509-e513. DOI: 10.1097/IJG.0000000000000374
  4. Jabbehdari, S., & Handa, J. T. (2021). Oxidative stress as a therapeutic target for the prevention and treatment of early age-related macular degeneration. Survey of ophthalmology, 66(3), 423-440. DOI:
  5. Brody, S., Erb, C., Veit, R., & Rau, H. (1999). Intraocular pressure changes: the influence of psychological stress and the Valsalva maneuver. Biological psychology, 51(1), 43-57.
  6. IQBAL, I., SAEED, R., QAYYUM, S., GUL, N., WAHAB, Z., SHAKEEL, A., & GHAFOOR, S. Effect of Cigarette Smoking on Intraocular Pressure in individual with Normal Blood Pressure. DOI:
  7. Fazio, M. A., Bianco, G., Karuppanan, U., Hubbard, M., Bruno, L., & Girkin, C. A. (2022). The Effect of Negative Pressure on IOP in the Living Human Eye. medRxiv, 2022-06. DOI:
  8. Ghanbarnia, M. J., Panahi, N. M., Rasoulinejad, S. A., Hosseini, S. R., Shirafkan, H., Roustaei, G. A., … & Bijani, A. (2023). Age-specific distribution of intraocular pressure in elderly Iranian population and its associated factors. Caspian Journal of Internal Medicine, 14(1), 112. DOI:
  9. Kothari, R., Panchal, V., & Bokariya, P. (2018). An investigative study on the impact of smoking on visual evoked response of healthy volunteers. Journal of Clinical Ophthalmology and Research, 6(3), 105. DOI: 10.4103/jcor.jcor_123_17
  10. Nordqvist, C. (2015). What Chemicals Are In Cigarette Smoke? [Online] Retrieved from: [Retrieved on 9 Jun. 2023].
  11. Solberg, Y., Rosner, M., & Belkin, M. (1998). The association between cigarette smoking and ocular diseases. Survey of ophthalmology, 42(6), 535-547.