Search Alaska's Smoke-Free Housing Database

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Save Your Vision Month

(An internal update decided it wanted to save the an older version of this webpage.)

March represents Save Your Vision Month. Save Your Vision Month is lead by the American Optometric Association. It raises awareness on how optometrists are important providers for eye health. They are also an important part of a person’s preventive healthcare services.

We’re going to discuss smoking’s impacts on eye health. You might not be aware of the connection. That’s okay! We’re here to help you learn if you want more information.

Note: the videos in this post contain shows treatment of macular degeneration. Treatment includes an injection into the eye. Viewer discretion advised.

Source: CDC’s Tips from a Former Smoker, Marlene (Marlene K.’s Story | Real Stories | Tips From Former Smokers | CDC)

So What’s the Connection?1

Smoking can lead to vision loss or blindness. The diseases connected with smoking are:

  • Cataracts – people who smoke are 2-3x more likely than nonsmokers to develop it
  • Macular Degeneration – people who smoke are twice as likely than nonsmokers to develop it

Cataracts cause blurry vision that worsens over time. Vision loss can occur if surgery isn’t done.

Macular degeneration affects central vision. Central vision helps people see objects clearly and is common for things like driving, reading, and recognizing faces. There are two types of macular degeneration: dry and wet. It always begins in the dry form. If it advances to the wet form, vision loss can be rapid if left untreated.

Symptoms and Treatment1,2

Both cataracts and macular degeneration often do not have early symptoms. Meaning: an eye exam is the best way to spot them early. The lists below are symptoms of each disease if someone should experience any.


  • Blurry vision
  • Colors that seem faded
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Trouble seeing at night
  • Double vision

Macular Degeneration

  • Blurred vision or a blurry spot in your central vision
  • Need for more light to read or do other tasks
  • Straight lines look wavy
  • Trouble recognizing faces

Early symptoms of cataract may improve with glasses, brighter lighting, antiglare sunglasses, or magnifying lenses. When those don’t help, surgery may be needed. Macular degeneration can be treated with eye injections, which stop the growth of blood vessels and further prevents damage to your eyes.

Source: CDC’s Tips from a Former Smoker, Marlene (Marlene K.’s Story | Real Stories | Tips From Former Smokers | CDC)

Marijuana and Eye Health3,4

Research is needed on the impacts, especially for long term impacts. There are reports that marijuana may help with glaucoma. However, the American Academy of Ophthalmology does not recommend marijuana as a treatment. The reasoning behind this is:

  • Studies suggest marijuana only reduces pressure for a short period (3-4 hours)
  • Eye pressure must be managed 24/7 to effectively treat glaucoma
  • To reduce eye pressure in a noticeable way and maintain that reduction, a person would have to ingest 18-20 mg of THC 6-8x a day, every day
    • This amount of marijuana can impact mood, mental clarity, and lung health (if smoked)
    • This amount would impact the ability to drive or engage in many daily activities
    • It’d be costly and likely impractical to use marijuana every 3-4 hours, every day
  • It’s possible that long-term use can damage eyes or worsen vision
    • The optic nerve can be damaged by low blood flow
    • Marijuana lowers blood pressure throughout the body, which can impact blood flow to the optic nerve

E-Cigarettes and Eye Health5,6,7

  • More research is needed to determine the impacts of vaping on eye health. This section notes early studies on its potential impacts.
  • One study found an association between using e-cigarettes and visual impairment. The same study also found that association with former e-cigarette users. They cited a need for more research to determine an independent relationship rather than association.
  • Another study noted that e-cigarette users were more likely to experience moderate to severe eye dryness and poorer tear film quality.
  • E-cigarettes could cause corneal staining and damage the eye’s tear film


I Want to Quit

I Want to Help Someone Quit

Healthcare professionals

  • Ask, Advise, Refer to Quit Don’t Switch ( free, one-hour, on-demand course that touches on tools and strategies for conducting an effective brief tobacco intervention with those who use tobacco. This course is accredited for 1 hour of Continuing Medical Education (CME) by Rehoboth McKinley Christian Health Care Services (RMCHCS) and 1 Continuing Education Unit (CEU) by the American Association of Respiratory Care.
  • ACT to Address Youth Cessation ( free, one-hour, on-demand course that touches on ways to provide a brief intervention for teens who use tobacco. School personnel and community members in youth/adolescent supportive roles are welcome to take this as well.

Anyone Who Wants to Help

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Alaska Smoke-Free Housing
A Buzzworthy Site