Does Smoking During Pregnancy Affect Your Newborn’s Vision?

February 27, 2015

pregnant belly

In case you needed another reason to quit smoking during pregnancy, you can add "potentially causes vision problems for your baby" to the list of reasons to kick the habit.

The medical community has long known that maternal cigarette consumption can lead to a variety of growth problems and developmental delays for babies. A recent series of studies is now suggesting that in addition to the previously known physical and neuro-developmental delays common among the children of smokers, now vision issues can be directly attributed to intra-uterine exposure to cigarette smoking.

In a recent article in All About Vision, recent research from China and the U.K. reveals that "fetal exposure to active maternal cigarette smoking or passive exposure to cigarette smoke were associated with an increased risk of vision problems in children. In particular, higher rates of refractive errors, strabismus, and retina and optic nerve problems were found among children of mothers who smoked during pregnancy."

The best way to protect the health, including eye health, of your baby is for both you and your partner to avoid cigarette smoking both during pregnancy and after your baby is born.

Dr. Gold adds, "We have long known that every puff on a cigarette causes a temporary constriction of small blood vessels in every organ of the body.  This obviously also applies to the uterus and the embryo."