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12/21/2009 - News

Smoking increases risk of vision problem

By: Susan Aldridge, medical journalist, PhD

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Smoking increases risk of vision problem

Reported by Susan Aldridge, PhD, medical journalist

People who smoke are more likely to develop age-related macular degeneration while those who eat fish have a reduced risk.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of vision loss among older people. Researchers at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary now reveal some new information about the risk factors involved in AMD through a study of male twins.

Their investigation involved 222 twins with AMD and 459 twins with normal vision. A comparison showed that current smokers had a 1.9 fold increased risk of AMD and past smokers a 1.7 times increased risk. Meanwhile, increased fish consumption - especially if more than twice a week - decreased the risk of AMD. It seems the omega-3 fatty acids in fish may provide protection to the eyes. Previous work by these scientists has shown there is a genetic factor in AMD from their work in twins. However, it is clear that environmental and lifestyle factors can also modify the risk of the disease.

Source
Archives of Ophthalmology July 2006

Created on: 07/11/2006
Reviewed on: 12/21/2009

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