Pittsburgh / Allison Park Senior Care Blog

Can Smoking Affect Your Elderly Loved One's Eyesight?

By Erin Carll

When your elderly loved one has been a smoker for a long time, it can be difficult to convince her that she should cut back or quit. For some elderly loved ones, letting them know the effects of smoking on their eyesight can be the right information. In honor of Save Your Vision Month in March, these pieces of information might be just what she needs to hear.

General Eye Irritation

Most people already know that smoke from cigarettes, pipes, and cigars can be irritating. It dries out your loved one's eyes and can cause chronic redness and irritation. Some people can even develop allergic reactions to smoke, which can make the irritation even worse. This eye irritation can even lead to dry eye syndrome, which damages the blood vessels in your loved one's eyes, eventually permanently.


In cataracts, your elderly loved one's eye develops clouding in the lens. This clouding is the result of proteins building up on the lens, but smokers or people who are around smokers often can develop cataracts much sooner than people who aren't smokers. Cataracts are extremely common as your elderly loved one becomes much older, but age isn't the only potential cause.

Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is a condition in which your loved one's vision is first obscured. In the dry form of macular degeneration, fatty deposits form behind the retina and cause vision loss. Wet macular degeneration is less common, but it occurs when blood vessels behind the retina burst or leak. Being a smoker is one of the biggest risk factors for either form of macular degeneration.

Hardening of the Arteries

Hardening of the arteries is a condition in which your loved one's arteries and other blood vessels become clogged with cholesterol deposits. Those deposits slowly harden over time as scar tissue forms, which causes even more problems for those blood vessels. This damages your loved one's eyes because those arteries can't carry blood to any of her organs, including her eyes.

Senior care providers can help your loved one to cope with diminished vision or with other health problems that leave her feeling compromised.

If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring homecare in Gibsonia, PA, please call the caring staff at Home Helpers. Call today (412) 201-0712.