A New Year article in JAMA Ophthalmology points out that smoking cessation can halve your risk of needing a cataract extraction later in life. The researchers looked at 40 000 Swedish men between the ages of 45 and 79 years and found there was a dose dependent risk of cataract over twenty years. Those who had ever smoked had a 21 per cent increased risk and for the heavy smokers it was much higher. Principal investigator Dr Birgitta Ejdervik Lindblad from Örebro University Hospital, in Sweden said good things happened when smokers quit:
“Well we could find that the risk decreased with time. It was statistically significant, and the more you smoked per day the longer it took before the risk decreased. But even heavy smokers — [who] smoked more than 15 cigarettes a day — when they were smoking they had a 42% increased risk of cataract extraction and after more than 20 years since smoking cessation the risk had decreased to 21%. It was not the same as never smoking but they could see that the risk decreased.”
Dr Lindblad suggested that knowing about the risk of going blind could help some of your patients quit smoking: “It’s never too late to stop smoking. You should encourage your patient to stop smoking. Apart from other diseases smoking is associated with many ocular diseases and I think the increased risk of cataract is one reason to encourage people to stop smoking.
“Smoking Cessation and the Risk of Cataract A Prospective Cohort Study of Cataract Extraction Among Men”
Published online January 02, 2014.
LINK : http://archopht.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1795194
Birgitta Ejdervik Lindblad, MD, PhD
Opthamologist, Department of Ophthalmology, Örebro University Hospital, Örebro, Sweden