To Reduce Risk of Impaired Vision, Quit Smoking

Posted by Admin on February 18, 2014
In a comprehensive study of Swedish men, additional evidence has emerged of the smoking link to cataract development in the eye, with smoking 15 cigarettes a day increasing the risk of requiring a cataract operation by 42%, compared with individuals who have never smoked.

The study authors claim that smoking has already been established as a risk factor for cataracts. They state the condition “is the leading cause of visual impairment in the world, responsible for more than 50% of world blindness." However, the authors were not aware what advantages quitting smoking might offer against the risks of cataracts.

For the study, the researchers examined over 44,000 men who participated in the Cohort of Swedish Men, all between the ages of 45 and 79 years. Each study subject completed a self-administered survey on smoking habits and lifestyle factors in 1997.

From analysis of the data, the investigators discovered that  while the risk can persist for decades following smoking cessation, doing so does appear to lower the risks of requiring extraction surgery for a cataract.

The study authors conclude, "The higher the intensity of smoking, the longer it takes for the increased risk to decline. These findings emphasize the importance of early smoking cessation and preferably the avoidance of smoking."

The authors also had an explanation regarding how smoking can impact ocular health. They claim that oxidative stress is the most likely cause, through the creation of free radicals of lower levels of antioxidant circulation.

The authors add, "Smoking cessation decreased the risk with time, indicating that the lens has some ability to repair protein damage with time, probably by halting oxidative stress, although it takes longer for the lens to recover with higher smoking intensity."

 

Written by Russ Allen

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