11 March 2020

No Smoking Day: Looking at the link between eye health and smoking

Most patients will be aware that smoking is bad for their overall health, but do they know how it can affect their vision? As part of No Smoking Day (11 March 2020), the College of Optometrists is highlighting the link between smoking and a range of eye health issues, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts.

Our Clinical Adviser, Daniel Hardiman-McCartney FCOptom, explains; “The health benefits of smoking cessation are well documented, including reducing damage to lungs and decreasing the risks of cancer, but few patients know of the link between smoking and eye health. We all know that smoking has a detrimental effect on health, but it’s important for optometrists to highlight the lesser known effect that it can have on eyesight, one of people’s most valued senses. Smoking is linked with an increased risk of blindness caused by AMD, and increased risk of reduced vision caused by cataracts and retinal vein occlusions. There is some good news though - the risk of sight loss diminishes over time for those who stop smoking, so the sooner patients stop, the better for their vision."

Help your patients understanding the effects of smoking on eye health with our free lifestyle and eyes leaflets – available for members to order now. Our public-facing website - lookafteryoureyes.org - also has information on smoking that is free and accessible for patients.

Related further reading

Clinical Adviser for the College Daniel Hardiman-McCartney FCOptom on how to ensure a sustainable optometry workforce.

Clinical case studies can make a small but important contribution to the sum of clinical knowledge. Why do we need them, asks Kim Thomas, and how do you write one?

The College’s Clinical Editor, Jane Veys MCOptom, on rabbits in the headlights and royally good handovers