Smoking may increase your chances of developing macular degeneration as you age-one of the main causes of severe vision loss in the elderly. The University of Sydney has performed a study thatt finds strong evidence of a link between smoking and this chronic disease. The researchers followed nearly 2,500 Australians who were at least age 49 for a 10 year period. Of these participants, over 50% were lifelong smokers, 35% were former smokers, and 13% were current smokers. Each study participant was questioned about past and current smoking as well as their diet. Researchers took retinal photos and recorded weight and blood pressure measurements. On average, smokers devleoped AMD when they were 69 years old - five years younger than average for nonsmokers.
The researchers found that smokers were four times more likely to develop age related macular degeneration than those who never smoked. People who previously smoked were also found to be three times more likely to have a more advanced form of the disease.
The researchers believe that the risk for prior smokers remained long after quitting compared to those who had never smoked. If you know anyone that needs one more reason to quit smoking, here it is.