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Active Passive Smokers at Risk of Macular Degeneration

Living with a smoker can almost double the risk of developing AMD, study finds

THURSDAY, Dec. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Smoking significantly increases the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in both smokers and their non-smoking partners, according to a study published in the January issue of the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

John Yates, Ph.D., of the University of Cambridge, U.K., and colleagues studied 435 people with end-stage AMD and 280 partners who lived with them. Smoking history was recorded through questionnaire and AMD was defined as having either choroidal neovascularization (CNV) or geographic atrophy (GA).

The researchers found that people who smoked at least one pack a day for more than 40 years had an almost triple risk of developing AMD (OR 2.75), but that those who quit smoking within the past 20 years had a risk comparable with non-smokers. They also found that non-smokers who lived with a smoker had an almost double risk for AMD (OR 1.87).

"This [evidence] provides strong support for a causal relation between smoking and AMD," the authors write. "We have shown that the risk applies to both CNV and GA. Stopping smoking appears to reduce the risk of both GA and CNV; this needs to be emphasized as a public health issue," they conclude.

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