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Cataracts Linked to Smoking

A recent study has added cataracts to the list of diseases and serious health conditions related to cigarette smoking. Smoking is now reported to greatly increase one’s chances of developing cataracts.

The recent study was led by Dr. Juan Ye of the Zhejiang University Institute of Ophthalmology, along with his colleagues. The researches reviewed several cohorts with eight cases for the control cohort coming from the five different contents. They used the sample groups to identify how cigarette smoking affects the age-related eye condition, cataracts, which is also known to be the leading cause of blindness and vision impairment across the globe.

The study investigated on the number of occurrences among people with cataracts who also smoked at the same time, and discovered that the risk of cataract development is actually increased with people who regularly smoke compared to those who are non-smokers. The difference between smokers who have stopped and people who still smoke were also looked into. In the study, they investigated the three different kinds of cataracts that are known to develop among the elderly.

The Association for Research and Vision in Ophthalmology (ARVO) shared in a press release last 12th of October that the results of the current study established how every smoking individual in the cohorts was significantly associated with high risk of cataract development and that the incidence of cataract was also significantly higher among current smokers. The difference between current smokers and past smokers were also identified with significant association to two different kinds of cataract, nuclear cataract (clouding present in the eye’s central nucleus) and subscapular cataract (clouding present in the rear part of the lens).

Cortical cataract was not found to be related to cigarette smoking. This kind of cataract is a condition wherein the cloudiness affects the cortex part of the lens. The study has been successfully published in the Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science (IOVS) journal.

Cataracts are known to be successfully and efficiently treated through several kinds of surgical procedures. The success rate of cataract removal surgery is reported to be 98 percent. Even with the high success rate of cataract removal surgery, many people still become blind due to inadequate services or financial shortage for the payment of the procedure. The lead author of the recent study suggested that by identifying risk factors of cataract development, preventive measures can be established along with the reduction of financial cost and clinical burden of the disease.

Dr. Ye added that their study can be set as an inspiring example to ignite development of good quality studies on epidemiology. What was more importantly established in the recent study is the association between cigarette smoking and the different kinds of cataracts, which implies that treatment for the various types of cataracts may vary. People aged 40 years and above are advised to see an ophthalmologist to check for cataracts. An earlier detection also means an earlier treatment. 

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