Cataracts: Quitting Smoking Decreases Risk

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Birgitta Ejdervik Lindblad, MD PhD
Department of Ophthalmology
Örebro University Hospital Örebro, Sweden

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Answer: We have investigated the association between smoking cessation and risk of having a cataract extraction among 44 371 Swedish men aged 45-79 years. During 12 years of follow up we identified 5713 incident cases of cataract extraction.

Smoking cessation significantly decreased the risk with time.

Men who currently smoked more than 15 cigarettes per day had a 42 % increased risk of cataract extraction compared with men who had never smoked.
More than 20 years since quitting smoking, men who had smoked more than 15 cigarettes per day had a 21% increased risk of  having a cataract extraction compared with men who had never smoked.

The effect of smoking cessation was observed earlier among men who smoked less than 15 cigarettes per day but more than 2 decades since smoking cessation the risk had not decreased to the level of never smokers.

MedicalResearch.com: Were any of the findings unexpected?

Answer: Smoking is an established risk factor for cataract, but the effect of smoking cessation is unclear. Few studies have examined the effect of smoking cessation on risk of cataract.

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Answer: Smoking cessation seems to decrease the risk of cataract. It is never too late to stop smoking but the higher the smoking intensity the longer it takes for the increased risk to decline. This finding emphasizes the importance of early smoking cessation and preferably avoidance of smoking.

MedicalResearch.com:  What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

More longitudinal studies with regular updated information on smoking status are needed to confirm these results.

Citation:

Smoking Cessation and the Risk of CataractA Prospective Cohort Study of Cataract Extraction Among Men

Lindblad B, Håkansson N, Wolk A. Smoking Cessation and the Risk of Cataract: A Prospective Cohort Study of Cataract Extraction Among Men. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2014;():. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2013.6669.

 

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