12/21/2009 - News

Passive smoking doubles risk of eye disease

By: Susan Aldridge, medical journalist, PhD

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Passive smoking doubles risk of eye disease

Reported by Susan Aldridge, PhD, medical journalist

A new study shows that both smokers and their non-smoking partners have an increased risk of age-related macular degeneration.
There are many health risks linked to smoking. Now a team at the University of Cambridge reveals that smoking is also associated with impairment of vision. They looked at smokers and their non-smoking partners and the frequency of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This is a condition which is a leading cause of vision loss and blindness in those over 60. It involves degeneration of the macula, which is the central part of the retina. AMD causes of loss of fine central vision needed for reading and driving.

The study involved 435 people with AMD and 280 partners living with them. The more a person smoked, the more likely they were to have AMD. A pack a day for 40 years tripled the risk of AMD compared to the risk for those who did not smoke. Giving up for 20 years or more cut down the risk to that of non-smokers. And those who lived with a smoker still had double the risk of AMD, even if they were non-smokers. In other words, passive smoking is linked to a risk of loss of vision.

Source
British Journal of Ophthalmology January 2006 Volume 90 pages 73-80

Created on: 12/20/2005
Reviewed on: 12/21/2009

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