Help us prevent avoidable sight loss by telling people that smoking causes blindness

Things may have been very different for people like Kath had she known. Kath, who was diagnosed with AMD around 10 years ago, said: “I had no idea smoking could damage eye sight. If I had known I definitely wouldn’t have smoked because your eyesight is very precious.” Kath said the most devastating thing about losing her sight has been giving up driving. She said: “We now have to rely on family to take us where we want to go, which they are very willing to do but I feel terribly guilty about it.”

We are the leading charity fighting to end sight loss caused by macular disease. We help people cope with the devastating effects of macular conditions and fund world-class research to find a cure.

Sylvia’s story

Sylvia Webb, aged 85, smoked for more than 30 years and was not aware of the impact it could have had on her sight. She said: “Had I thought I might lose my sight I would have been more keen to give up. Most people realise there’s a possibility that if you smoke you might get lung cancer or another cancer, but they don’t know you could lose your sight.

Many of the chemicals in tobacco smoke are extremely toxic. These toxic chemicals are then transported to the delicate tissues of the eye through the bloodstream, where they damage the structure of the cells.

Many people do not realise that smoking causes blindness. The message is often missing from anti-smoking messages, which concentrate on the life-threatening side effects of smoking. If you smoke, you’re 3 to 4 times more likely to develop macular disease. If you smoke and you have certain genetic characteristics, then your risk goes up enormously. You could be 20 or more times more likely to get macular disease if you have those certain genes and you smoke. Smoking is incredibly bad for your eyes.

Help us prevent avoidable sight loss by telling people that smoking causes blindness.