Cannabis Science

Can the Eye Doctor Tell if you Smoke Weed?

eye examination

You have an appointment with your eye doctor soon. You’re worried about whether or not they can tell if you smoke weed. A lot of stoners have this concern, so you’re not alone. So, can eye doctors tell if you smoke weed? Here’s what we know. 

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Can Eye Doctors Tell if You Smoke Weed?

You probably read our blog post about how dentists can tell if you smoke weed or not. But can eye doctors tell if you smoke weed? 

Well, if you go to the doctor high, they may be able to tell. Mainly because your eyes are red from smoking weed. 

If you’re worried about that, you can purchase eye drops to soothe your eyes and turn them back to their usual color. 

In addition to that, you may act or speak differently when high so they may notice that. 

We don’t recommend going to your eye doctor high because it may impair your functioning or skew the results of the eye exam. 

On HealthTap Dr. Bernard Seif said that weed might change eye pressure which may cause the doctor to miss something. 

However, if you’re not going to the eye doctor high, chances are they won’t be able to tell if you smoke weed. 

How to Prepare for your Eye Doctor Appointment 

Now that you know you should save your smoke sesh until after your eye doctor appointment, you’re curious about how to prepare. 

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According to the Optometrists Network, make sure that you:

  • Bring a list of whatever medication you take, even if it’s not for your eyes. That way, your doctor can understand your eye health better and avoid prescribing something that may have an unpleasant interaction. 
  • Have a list of your eye symptoms handy. A list will help you have a record of any symptoms you have so you won’t have to rely on your memory. 
  • Bring your eyeglasses and contact lens if you use them. This will help your doctor figure out if you need a change in your prescription.
  • Have an idea of your family history. They recommend knowing your close family member’s history because some eye diseases run in the family. Mention instances of glaucoma, cataracts, and color blindness, among other conditions to your eye doctor. 

How Often Should I see my Eye Doctor?

Wondering when you should see your eye doctor again? 

If you develop any eye problems or symptoms, see your eye doctor as soon as possible.

However, even if you don’t, you should still see your eye doctor at some point. According to Aetna, if you’re between the ages of 20 and 39, you should see your eye doctor every 5 years. You’d gradually go more often as you age.

Still, you may need to go more often if you meet any of these conditions:

  • Have a chronic condition that can damage the eyes, such as diabetes
  • Wear glasses or contacts
  • Have a family history of eye conditions 

Regardless of your age, Aetna says you should see the eye doctor more than the recommended amount. 

Your eye doctor can also tell you how often you should come in. 

Does Smoking Weed Damage the Eyes?

You may also be wondering if smoking weed could damage your eyes.

On one hand, there is evidence that marijuana may improve glaucoma. Even so, if you have glaucoma or suspect that you might, it’s best to see a medical professional about treatment. Ask their opinion on medical marijuana and whether or not it can help you. 

Not everyone sees weed as a viable long-term treatment for glaucoma. Craig J. Chaya, MD, a glaucoma specialist, was quoted on the University of Utah Heath website saying you’d need a lot of weed to truly benefit. Chaya says, “Glaucoma needs to be treated 24 hours a day, so you would need to smoke marijuana six to eight times a day, around the clock to get the benefit of a consistently lowered IOP,”

Naturally, smoking that much weed could have adverse effects such as having an irritated throat or constant coughing. Even if you choose not to smoke and have an edible instead, it would be pretty hard to operate normally. For instance, you can’t drive or may get in trouble at work. 

On the other hand, weed may actually damage eyesight. A study had a small sample of  28 people who regularly use weed and 24 people who don’t. The study found that “Retinal processing also seems to be slowed in regular cannabis users.”

However, the study makes it clear that it wasn’t designed to show cause and effect, and it’s also preliminary. But they also said, “ The findings suggest that retinal function might be used as a marker of brain neurotransmission abnormalities in cannabis users.” In other words, this can tell us something about weed’s effects on the brain. More research is needed in this area. 


Can the eye doctor tell if you smoke weed? Unless you walk into their office high with red eyes, probably not. Whether or not weed causes long-term damage to the eyes is unknown. However, we’re curious to see the research as it becomes available.


About Trevann

Trevann is Stoner Rotation’s Jamaica-based lead writer for the Science section of our cannabis blog. She graduated with honors receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biology from the University of West Indies, Mona. For the last three years, she has covered some of the biggest questions around cannabis and health underpinned with research from supporting studies, medical journals and scholarly articles. Got something on your mind? You can reach her at [email protected].