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Smoking Linked to Blindness Later in Life

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LONDON, Mar 04, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- British researchers said Thursday that smokers are up to four times as likely to become blind in later life from age related macular degeneration.

Unfortunately, many smokers remain largely unaware of this risk, the researchers warned in the British Medical Journal.

AMD is the most common cause of adult blindness, which results in severe irreversible loss of central vision. As many as one in five cases of AMD might be linked to smoking.

Evidence also shows that quitting smoking slows the development of AMD, while continued smoking can affect the long-term response to treatments such as laser therapy.

The researchers recommend beginning a public health campaign to raise awareness of the link between smoking and blindness, including offering support to people attempting to quit the habit.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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