Smoking related to long-term risk and progression of age-related eye disease

Jan 14, 2008

Smokers appear to have an increased long-term risk and greater progression of the eye disease age-related macular degeneration, according to a report in the January issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Smoking had already been identified as one of the few modifiable risk factors for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of vision loss in older Americans, according to background information in the article. Smoking may contribute to AMD through several pathways, including by reducing antioxidant levels, decreasing blood flow around the eye or affecting the pigments (coloration) in the retina.

Ronald Klein, M.D., M.P.H., and colleagues at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, studied 4,926 residents of Beaver Dam, Wis., who were ages 43 to 84 years in 1987 to 1988. The participants were initially examined in 1988 to 1990 and then were re-examined every five years for the next 15 years. The presence and status of AMD was measured with photographs of the retina.

At the beginning of the study, 21 percent of the men and 18 percent of the women were smokers. Smokers had a 47 percent increase in their odds of developing early AMD, which is the least severe form of the disease. They also developed AMD at a younger age (69.2 years) than former smokers (72.3 years) and those who had never smoked (74.4 years). Smoking at the beginning of the study was also associated with the cumulative progression of AMD over the 15 years of the study. “There were few associations of specific characteristics of smoking (e.g., intensity, pack-years smoked, duration and age at initiation and quitting) with AMD outcomes,” the authors write.

“In summary, while controlling for other factors, smoking appears to be related to the incidence and progression of AMD in our population,” they conclude. “This has important health care implications, because early AMD is associated with an increase in the risk of developing late AMD and smoking behavior is modifiable.”

Source: JAMA and Archives Journals

Explore further: Here's to wine, chocolate and a long, healthy life

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Reducing pesticides and boosting harvests

1 hour ago

Scientists in Italy are experimenting with sound vibrations to replace pesticides. Adapting different eco-friendly methods they are able to boost harvests and open up a new chapter in sustainable farming.

Native vegetation makes a comeback on Santa Cruz Island

1 hour ago

On islands, imported plants and animals can spell ecological disaster. The Aleutians, the Galápagos, the Falklands, Hawaii, and countless other archipelagoes have seen species such as rats, goats, brown ...

Recommended for you

Study: Americans endure unwanted care near death

2 hours ago

Americans suffer needless discomfort and undergo unwanted and costly care as they die, in part because of a medical system ruled by "perverse incentives" for aggressive care and not enough conversation about what people want, ...

Failed Medicare payments law remains relevant

3 hours ago

In a new commentary in the journal JAMA Surgery, Dr. Eli Adashi recounts what he and other advocates saw as merits of the originally bipartisan Sustainable Growth Rate Repeal and Medicare Provider Paymen ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

jgra
not rated yet Jan 14, 2008
First I have to say I am a smoker who wants to quit but for some reason keeps on raising the newport back to my lip. Nonetheless, I love scientific studies and all but its just so interesting that all these studies are surrounded around smoking. Don't get me wrong "us smokers" have to worry about so many things already and maybe its denial or maybe I have the thinnking of what you believe in spiritually and individually is how and what you will get. Putting that to the side, what is the deal, why instead of only conducting studies on what current smokers go through, why not start studies on helping kicking that habit by creating new types of cigarettes with less of the harmful chemicals. I don't know I just like to think about both the negative but also the positive things about everything no matter how dreadful it can be. peace and my vision is getting worst but I don't know to what I should attribute to, my computer, my television, my annual increased in prescription glasses, not getting enough sleep, reading too much and now smoking. peace again