Washington, Oct 14 (IANS) Smoking is not only a high risk factor for a wide range of diseases but can also bring on age-related cataract, a leading cause of blindness and vision loss worldwide, says a new finding.
"Although cataracts can be removed surgically to restore sight, many people remain blind from cataracts due to inadequate surgical services and high surgery expenses," said study author Juan Ye from the Institute of Ophthalmology in Zhejiang University of China.
"Identifying modifiable risk factors for cataracts may help establish preventive measures and reduce the financial as well as clinical burden caused by the disease," said Ye, the journal Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science reports.
The team performed the analysis using 12 cohorts and eight case-control studies from Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and North America to compare the prevalence of age-related cataract in individuals who smoked cigarettes to those who have never smoked.
Cohort is a group of subjects who have shared a particular event together during a particular time span.
Further subgroup analyses were performed based on the subjects' status as a past or current smoker and the three subtypes of age-related cataract, according to a Institute of Opthalmology statement.
The results showed that every individual who ever smoked cigarettes was linked with higher risk of age-related cataract, with a higher risk of incidence in current smokers.
In the subgroup analysis, former and current smokers showed a positive association with two of the subtypes: nuclear cataract, when the clouding is in the central nucleus of the eye, and subscapular cataract, when the clouding is in the rear of the lens capsule.
The analysis found no association between smoking and cortical cataract, in which the cloudiness affects the cortex of the lens.