How Does Marijuana Affect My Eyes?
With so much talk about the legalization of Marijuana and the medical benefits it may or may not have, here is a little insight as to how it affects eye health.
Marijuana has multiple effects on the eyes. In the short-term, the compound THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) temporarily lowers your blood pressure, which causes the blood vessels to dilate. This blood vessel dilation is what causes the “bloodshot” or red eyes associated with Marijuana use. During this period that immediately follows Marijuana ingestion, there is a slight, temporary lowering of the eye pressure (IOP). This is how smoking Marijuana became known as a prescribed therapy for glaucoma in the past. However, because the long-term effect is negligible (and contrary to popular belief), Marijuana is not a good treatment or prevention for Glaucoma, especially when compared to IOP-lowering medications.
Over the long-term, those who smoke Marijuana are likely to be increasing their risk for many of the same unwanted eye conditions as tobacco smokers. Although the correlation is not as well established, it would not be a stretch to speculate that any type of regular smoke intake would have an effect on the long-term risk of eye diseases such as Cataracts and Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). At this time, there are many unknowns about exactly how Marijuana use affects your risk of eye disease.
Keeping up with regular eye health examinations by your optometrist will ensure early detection of those risks.