There is good evidence that smoking causes sight loss. Tobacco smoke has up to 4,000 active compounds. Most of these are toxic and potentially damaging to the eyes.
Smokers are up to four times more likely to develop age-related macular degeneration (AMD) that non-smokers. AMD is the leading cause of sight loss in the UK. Macular degeneration is when the macular at the back of your eye becomes damaged. This affects your ability to see detail, such as recognising faces or reading or watching television.
Smokers are also more likely than non-smokers to develop cataracts. Cataract is when the lens inside your eye goes cloudy. It does not always affect your vision in the early stages, but tends to get worse as you get older. If it affects your vision you will need an operation to remove the cataract.
Stopping smoking is the single best thing you can do for your eyes and to improve your current and future health. Many smokers want to quit, and you do not have to do it alone. In some areas optometrists work with the NHS in providing smoking cessation services to help you quit. Ask your optometrist if they are able to help you in this way or, if not, can point you to someone who can.