It is common knowledge nowadays that smoking has all kinds of adverse health effects, including adverse effects on the eyes. But, the question has lingered among the medical and scientific communities since the start of its trend a couple years ago on how exactly vaping fits into that frame.
Is vaping truly a safer alternative to smoking? Or does it carry the same risks to the eye as its more traditional counterpart?
In the scientific community, there are a lot of variables and constants that prevent a researcher from proclaiming a solid answer to these questions. Since vaping as an alternative to smoking is such a recent trend there is still a lot of testing and research to be done before anyone can come to a definitive conclusion on how safe it is.
With that being said, there are a host of things that we do know when it comes to vaping, as the concept of vaping itself is relatively similar to traditional smoking, in terms of effects.
For example, vape smoke has long been thought to be harmless water vapor, but recent studies have proven that, like cigarette smoke, vape smoke from today’s devices are full of aerosol, nicotine, artificial flavorings and even formaldehyde.
Alongside the various effects that these chemicals have on the body, they are also harmful to the eye.
Nicotine, aside from being incredibly addictive, is an eye irritant and has also been linked to a thinning of the vascular layer of the eye.
The artificial flavorings found in e-cigarettes contain many different chemicals, including diacetyl. Diacetyl, which was used in butter-flavored popcorn, has been linked to lung disease when inhaled.
Because of this, many researchers are warning those that use flavored e-cigarettes of the potential dangers that this flavoring can cause.
Similarly, in addition to all the negative effects that formaldehyde has on the body, it has been proven to be a major eye irritant when inhaled in smoke form.
Studies have shown that e-cigarettes have about five times more formaldehyde than traditional cigarettes, as well as most e-cigarettes containing propylene glycol, which is known to affect the nervous system and spleen as well as irritate the eyes.
Besides eye irritation, smokers are about four times more likely to contract certain eye diseases that can result in vision loss.
Chemicals in e-cigarettes, much like traditional cigarettes, can damage blood vessels in the eye and lead to the onset of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD affects nearly 195 million people globally each year, and can lead to complete vision loss if not properly treated.
Then, there are the explosions.
According to a comprehensive list of vape explosions, there have been 316 reported vape pen explosions to date. While the circumstances of the explosions differ, and there are many preventative measures that you can take to keep yourself safe, over 300 explosions is more than enough to consider them a risk. There have already been reports of vape pens blowing up in people’s faces, which can obviously pose a significant threat of trauma to the eyes.
In conclusion, while there is plenty of research still to be done on how exactly vaping affects our eyes, the best course of action is to look at the ingredients of a vape and analyze how each one affects us individually.
There are a lot of different chemicals in vapes that have negative effects on the body, as well as the potential for physical harm. If you vape, and are concerned about the effects it may have on your eyes, talk to your doctor today!