Smoking causes blindness: Time for eye care professionals to join the fight against tobacco

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16 Scopus citations


Sight is an important indicator of health and quality of life. Approximately, 3.4 million Americans 40 years of age and older are visually impaired or blind. Evidence suggests that smoking increases the risk of the most common sight-threatening conditions of eye disease. Half a century after the release of the 1964 landmark Surgeon General’s report on smoking and health, tobacco smoking continues to be the leading public health problem in the United States, and nearly half a million adults annually die prematurely from smoking-related diseases. On the historic occasion of the 50th anniversary of the 1964 report, the 2014 Surgeon General’s report is devoted to smoking and health. This report provides new evidence about the link between cigarette smoking and eye disease, which signifies a new role for eye-care professionals in tobacco control on two levels. First, on a clinical level, eye care professionals should integrate smoking cessation treatment in the standard care of patients’ management in eye-care settings in order to motivate and help smoking patients in quitting smoking. Second, on a political level, eye care providers can serve as powerful public advocates against tobacco use, thereby significantly enhancing public awareness about the link between smoking and eye disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1120-1121
Number of pages2
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2015


  • Blindness
  • Prevention
  • Public awareness
  • Smoking
  • Smoking cessation treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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