Smoking may lead to cataracts in aging population

Cigarette smoking is a well-known risk factor for a wide-range of diseases. Now, scientists have evidence that smoking may also increase the risk of age-related cataract, the leading cause of blindness and vision loss in the world.

Reported in & Visual Science (Smoking and Risk of Age-related : A Meta-analysis), the new findings are the result of a meta-analysis conducted by a team of researchers from China.

"Although cataracts can be removed surgically to restore sight, many people remain blind from cataracts due to inadequate surgical services and high surgery expenses," said author Juan Ye, MD, PhD, of the Institute of Ophthalmology, Zhejiang University in China. "Identifying modifiable for cataracts may help establish preventive measures and reduce the financial as well as clinical burden caused by the ."

The team performed the analysis using 12 cohorts and eight case-control studies from Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and North America, to compare the prevalence of age-related cataract in individuals who ever smoked cigarettes to those who have never smoked. Further subgroup analyses were performed based on the subjects' status as a past or current smoker and the three subtypes of age-related cataract.

The results showed that every individual that ever smoked cigarettes was associated with an increased risk of age-related cataract, with a higher risk of incidence in current smokers. In the subgroup analysis, former and current smokers showed a positive association with two of the subtypes: nuclear cataract, when the clouding is in the central nucleus of the eye, and subscapular cataract, when the clouding is in the rear of the lens capsule. The analysis found no association between smoking and cortical cataract, in which the cloudiness affects the cortex of the lens.

While the overall analysis suggests that smoking cigarettes may increase the risk of age-related cataracts, the researchers point out that further effort should be made to clarify the underlying mechanisms.

"We think our analysis may inspire more high-quality epidemiological studies" said Ye. "Our analysis shows that association between smoking and the risk of age-related cataract differ by subtypes, suggesting that pathophysiologic processes may differ in the different cataract types."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Cataract risk up for statin users with type 2 diabetes

Aug 13, 2012

(HealthDay) -- Statin use, which is substantially higher in patients with type 2 diabetes, correlates with an increased risk of age-related (AR) cataracts, according to a study published in the August issue ...

New cataract gene discovered

Feb 14, 2008

The international team of researchers was able to identify the location and defect in the coding region of the gene through analysis of genetic material (DNA) from members of a large Swiss family, the majority ...

Pilots at risk for cosmic cataracts

Aug 08, 2005

Researchers say they've determined airline pilots are at increased risk of cataracts usually associated with aging as a result of cosmic radiation.

Recommended for you

Team creates device to alleviate dry eye

Jan 26, 2015

A search for medical needs in eye clinics led Stanford Biodesign fellows to develop an implantable neurostimulator that painlessly increases natural tear production.

Scientists discover gene tied to profound vision loss

Jan 16, 2015

An exhaustive hereditary analysis of a large Louisiana family with vision issues has uncovered a new gene tied to an incurable eye disorder called retinitis pigmentosa, according to an examination led by ...

Eye surgeon uses stem cells to repair damaged corneas

Jan 14, 2015

In Hyderabad, India, Sayan Basu is using stem cells in a pilot project to restore the eyesight of patients with damaged corneas. If proven successful, the procedure could mean that Indian citizens can avoid ...

What you need to know about pediatric glaucoma

Jan 13, 2015

One evening, five years ago, Brittni Powell did what a lot of young mothers do and gazed into her 2-month-old son's eyes. What she saw had Brittni and her husband Byron heading immediately to a Montgomery-area hospital emergency ...

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

smokelesscigs4you
not rated yet Oct 15, 2012
Wow, this is very scary. Another risk added to smoking cigarettes. People need to realize how dangerous they can be. Get informed.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.