Smoking may lead to cataracts in aging population

October 12, 2012

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."

Explore further: Cataract risk up for statin users with type 2 diabetes

Related Stories

Cataract risk up for statin users with type 2 diabetes

August 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 of Optometry and ...

Recommended for you

A pocket-sized retina camera, no dilating required

March 20, 2017

It's the part of the eye exam everyone hates: the pupil-dilating eye drops. The drops work by opening the pupil and preventing the iris from constricting in response to light and are often used for routine examination and ...

Scientists deploy CRISPR to preserve photoreceptors in mice

March 14, 2017

Silencing a gene called Nrl in mice prevents the loss of cells from degenerative diseases of the retina, according to a new study. The findings could lead to novel therapies for preventing vision loss from human diseases ...

New help for that bane of middle-age: blurry close-up vision

February 28, 2017

Squinting while texting? Always losing your reading glasses? An eye implant that takes about 10 minutes to put in place is the newest in a list of surgical repairs for the blurry close-up vision that is a bane of middle age. ...

Vitamin B3 prevents glaucoma in laboratory mice

February 16, 2017

In mice genetically predisposed to glaucoma, vitamin B3 added to drinking water is effective at preventing the disease, a research team led by Jackson Laboratory Professor and Howard Hughes Medical Investigator Simon W.M. ...

GARP2 accelerates retinal degeneration in a mouse model

February 15, 2017

In the retina of the eye, rod and cone cells turn light into electrical signals, the first step toward human vision. University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers are studying rod cell proteins GARP1 and GARP2 to learn ...

1 comment

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.