Sunday, July 19, 2015

Stop Smoking & Reduce Cataract Risk

Smoking has been associated with all types of vascular disease, high blood pressure, heart disease and many types of cancer as well as increasing the risk of age related macular degeneration (AMD), retinal vascular disease and glaucoma. Now we know that smoking also increase your risk of developing cataracts and needing cataractsurgery.

Research on Smoking and Cataracts
Researchers reporting in JAMA Ophthalmology found that stopping smoking decreases the risk of cataracts over time. The researchers followed a total of 44,371 men, 45 to 79 years old over a 10 year period and the participants filled out questionnaires on their smoking habits and lifestyles and were then matched with the Swedish National Day-Surgery Register and local records of cataract surgery.

Findings about Smoking & Stopping Smoking and Cataracts
The researchers found that smokers of more than 15 cigarettes a day had a 42% increased risk of cataract surgery compared with men who had never smoked. They also found that men who smoked an average of more than 15 cigarettes a day but had stopped smoking more than 20 years earlier had a 21% increased risk-a significant reduction. Thus, they found a positive association between cigarette smoking and cataract surgery in men, with a significant increase of cataracts among smokers compared to those who never smoked. Also, stopping smoking was associated with a statistically significant decrease in risk with increasing time from stopping smoking. Even heavy smokers had some benefit from quitting smoking. Further, a previous study from 2005 detailed the relationship between smoking cessation and cataract risk in women. In this study, they found that after cessation of smoking, cataract risk in women decreased with time. Women who smoked 6 to 10 cigarettes a day but had ceased smoking 10 years earlier, and women who smoked more than 10 cigarettes a day but had ceased smoking 20 years earlier were found to have a relative risk of cataracts not significantly different from women who had never smoked.

Smoking cessation seems to decrease the risk of cataract development and the need for cataract surgery with time, although the risk persists for decades. 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 altogether.

If you or someone you know has a question about smoking, cataract risk, cataract surgery or lens implants please call Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center at 219-464-8223, or visit Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center, Google+ or facebook.com/nwindianaeyeandlaser. 

Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center offices are located at 502 Marquette Street, Valparaiso, Indiana 46383 and 1001 South Edgewood Drive, Knox, Indiana 46354.