NEW YORK (Reuters Health) May 30 –
Older adults who smoke are twice as likely to have age related macular degeneration (AMD) than their non-smoking peers, according to findings from the largest study to look at this association in a British population.
Smoking is known to be a risk factor for AMD, lead author Dr. Jennifer R. Evans and colleagues, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, note. However, the strength of the association among adults 75 years of age and older in the UK was unclear.
To investigate, the researchers analyzed data from 516 case patients and 4364 controls drawn from 49 general practices across Britain.
Current smoking status raised the risk of AMD by 2.15-fold compared with non-smoking, according to the report in the May issue of the British Journal of Ophthalmology. Virtually no excess risk was seen in ex-smokers, especially those who had stopped more than 20 years previously.
Based on these findings, the authors estimate that 28,000 cases of AMD among older adults in the UK may be attributable to smoking.
“An increased risk of AMD, which is the most commonly occurring cause of blindness in the UK, is yet another reason for people to stop smoking and governments to develop public health campaigns against this hazard,” the researchers emphasize.
Br J Ophthalmol 2005;89:550-553.
For more information click Age Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD).
Barbara C. Phillips, NP