Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Smoking Causes Blindness

/PRNewswire/ -- AMD Alliance International strongly urges all smokers to participate in the Great American Smokeout on November 19 to save their eyes and protect their vision from the debilitating effects of macular degeneration.

Research has demonstrated that age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a progressive disease that causes the loss of central vision, is two to three times as frequent among tobacco smokers, and the risk is dose dependent(1, 2). In other words, the more you smoke, the greater the risk and the faster the progression of the disease. For patients with certain genetic backgrounds, regular heavy smoking can increase the risk of AMD a stunning 144-fold(3).

AMD is the leading cause of blindness among those older than 50.

"We salute the American Cancer Society and its efforts on behalf of the Great American Smokeout," said David Herman, Chairman of the global AMD Alliance International. "And we add vision loss to the list of significant and debilitating health risks that are caused by smoking. If you quit today, you can immediately begin lowering your risk of losing your sight to macular degeneration."

In addition to quitting smoking and maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle, AMD Alliance International recommends regular visits to the eye doctor to check for onset of macular degeneration.

For more information about how to prevent, treat and manage AMD, please visit AMD Alliance International at www.amdalliance.org.

Notes:

1) Seddon JM et al. A prospective study of cigarette smoking and age-related macular degeneration in women. JAMA 1996 Oct 9 276 1141-1146.

2) Christen WG et al. A prospective study of cigarette smoking and risk of age-related macular degeneration in men. JAMA 1996 Oct 9 276 1147-1151.

3) DeAngelis, Margaret M. et al. Cigarette Smoking, CFH, APOE, ELOVL4, and Risk of Neovascular Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Archives of Ophthalmology January 2007 125 49-54.

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