Researchers at Cambridge University UK have studied the impact of smoking on the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), one of the most common causes of blindness. They discovered that living with a smoker for five years doubles the risk of developing AMD, and being a smoker triples it. Research has already shown that smoking increases AMD risk, but this is the first study to show similar risks from passive “secondhand” smoke. “There is a clear association,” said co-author Professor John Yates.
Age-related macular degeneration commonly affects people over the age of 50; but this research suggests long, regular exposure to “smoke-filled rooms,” may be as damaging as the clock. The researchers suggest people not only stop smoking, but also avoid places where they might regularly encounter other peoples’ cigarette smoke.
Said Anita Lightstone, head of eye health at the UK’s Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB), “This is an extremely important finding, and further evidence to back RNIB’s call for a ban on smoking in all enclosed public places and workplaces across the UK.”