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AMD risk made worse by smoking

Discussion in 'Ophthalmology' started by Dr.Night, Jan 4, 2012.

  1. Dr.Night

    Dr.Night Famous Member

    Jun 5, 2011
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    Practicing medicine in:
    Saudi Arabia

    (age-related macular degeneration) causes progressive damage to the central part of the retina known as the macula. This is the part of the eye that enables us to see fine detail andAMD leads to darkness or blurring in central vision. AMD impairs your ability to read, drive and recognize faces and it is the leading cause of blindness for Americans aged over 65. We know that age is the strongest risk factor for AMD, followed by smoking. A team at the University of California, Los Angeles, set out to determine whether age is an influence on smoking as an AMD risk factor.

    They studied a group of nearly 2000 women, taking retinal photographs at age 78 and thereafter at five year intervals. Most studies on AMD have been done on people younger than 75 so this study was novel. Four per cent of the women were smokers. The researchers compared the retinal photographs at age 78 and 83 to check for the appearance of AMD and whether smoking affected the risk of its developing. Overall, the women who smoked had 11% higher rates of AMD than other women of the same age. Those over 80 who smoked had a 5.5 times higher risk of AMD than women of the same age who were non-smokers. In other words, being over 80 is a risk factor for AMD in itself and continuing to smoke makes the risk increase dramatically. It is thought that smoking reduces levels of antioxidants in the blood and alters blood supply to the eyes and also decreases the amount of the retinal pigments necessary for vision. These findings suggest that it is never too late to benefit from quitting smoking ”“ your eyes will certainly feel the benefit!

    [h=3]Source:[/h] Coleman A et al The Association of Smoking and Alcohol Use With Age-related Macular Degeneration in the Oldest Old Archives of Ophthalmology January 2010; 149: 160-169

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