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 Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science (Smoking and Risk of Age-related Cataract: 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 risk factors for cataracts may help establish preventive measures and reduce the financial as well as clinical burden caused by the disease."
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.