A question has been floating around the vaping community for the past few months, can vaping, a healthier alternative to smoking, pose any harm to the human eyes? Nigel Best, an optometrist and medical representative of Specsavers, an eye wear company from the UK, made some remarks on the question regarding the eye contact with e-liquid vapors and said “Although e-cigarette research is still in early stages and the long term effects are yet to be established, there are early indications that some types can cause irritation to the eyes in the form of dry eye.”
Where dry eye might sound a non-threatening term, it still raises some concerns regarding e-cig usage and eye health. The condition can advance into Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), which is usually observed in elderly people, that can, over time, result in permanent damage to central vision and the affected can lose vision in his both eyes. Optometrist, Nigel Best raised his concern saying “Age-related macular degeneration affects around 600,000 people in the UK alone.” He also added, “Smokers are more likely to form this eye condition than non-smokers. The condition is most common in people over the age of 50.”
The statements highlight some legitimate health concern, however, the people who have switched to vaping from smoking to quit their bad habit don’t have much to worry about as vaping is still way more harmless than the smoke you were dealing with during your tobacco smoking days. If you talk about the dry eye being related to an AMD diagnosis, the thing to consider is that there is no experimental claim proving the connection of vaping with any sort of eye damage. But when you talk about regular combustible cigarette smoking, there are a lot of health concerns regarding its usage and eye health, not to mention the overall damage it causes to the whole body. According to some studies, non-smokers are three times less likely to develop any sort of AMD as compared to tobacco smokers. Smoking is not only responsible for making people more vulnerable to AMD; it is also responsible for several other eye infections. Research suggests smoking makes a person more vulnerable to developing cataract which is known for causing blindness.
Smoke from the regular cigarettes can also cause Uveitis in which the middle layer of the eyes, called Uvea, gets inflamed which can result in serious complications and can even cause permanent blindness. The disease is found twice as much in smokers as compared to people who don’t smoke. Smoking also increases your chances of becoming diabetic which in severe cases results in dull eyesight or complete blindness.
No studies have indicated long-term effects of e-liquid vapors on eye health but when you compare the act of vaping with the potential health damage that tobacco smoking can cause, only to the eyes, you wouldn’t give it a second thought.
Dry eyes can be easily treated, no matter if the person is a smoker or a vaper but it still makes sense to switch to vaping to avoid all the serious complications that are caused by smoking not only for the eyes but the whole body. It also makes sense to use your own perspective rather than getting influenced by some negative reporting about the act of vaping. If vaping has come out to be a lot safer than tobacco smoking in all regards, one can confidently assume that same will be the case for the eye health too.