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Smoking bad for older eyes

14th August 2007

Smokers are more likely to develop late age-related macular degeneration (AMD), according to a new report.

A study of 2,454 Australians aged 49 and above focused on the link between smoking and incidence of AMD.

Participants filled in an interviewer-administered questionnaire which assessed their smoking status, BMI and blood pressure.

Current smokers were found to be four times more likely to develop the progressive eye disease.

And former smokers were three times as likely to have geographic atrophy, an advanced form of the disease, than those who had never lit up.

"In summary, the findings from this large population-based prospective study add evidence to a possible causal relationship between smoking and the long-term risk of late, but not early, AMD," the authors conclude.

They postulate that "smoking may also interact with AMD gene susceptibility and other environmental risk factors".

The report was published in the July issue of Archives of Ophthalmology.