It's never too late to quit smoking: Study


Researchers of the University of California have said that smoking increases the risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness in people over 65.
"The take-home message is that it's never too late to quit smoking," said lead author Dr Anne Coleman.
"We found that even older people's eyes will benefit from kicking the habit."
AMD causes progressive damage to the macula, the center of the retina that allows us to see fine details, The American Journal of Ophthalmology reported.
When the macula degenerates, people experience darkness or blurring in their central vision, preventing them from being able to read, drive and recognise faces, the study said.
Smoking is the second most common risk factor for AMD apart from old age, it added.
To determine whether age influences the effects of smoking on AMD risk, the researchers followed a group of 1,958 women who underwent retinal photographs at five-year intervals, starting with a baseline exam at age 78.
Four per cent, or 75 of the women, smoked.

"We saw a slightly higher rate of AMD in women after age 80, but the rate was dramatically higher in older women who smoked," said Coleman. "The bottom line is that AMD risk increases with age. And if you smoke, your risk of developing the disease rises even more."
Cigarette smoking has been said to increase AMD risk by reducing serum antioxidant levels, altering blood flow to the eyes and decreasing retinal pigments.
"This study provides yet another compelling reason to stop smoking and suggests that it is never too late to quit," said Dr Paul Sieving, director of the National Eye Institute.

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