12 July 2006

Smoking increases blindness

Smoking increases the risk of the most common cause of blindness among the elderly but eating fish protects against it, studies reveal.

One study from Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston found that those who smoked had nearly a twofold increased risk of age-related macular degeneration compared to those who had never smoked. There was also a higher risk for those who had smoked in the past but quit. In macular degeneration the central vision of the eye becomes blurred. It’s the leading cause of blindness after age 60.

The Boston study published on Monday also found that those who ate more fish, including those who smoked, were less likely to have developed the disease, with the biggest benefit among those who ate two or more servings per week.

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