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Quit Smoking to Reduce Cataract Risk

If you smoke, quitting may gradually decrease your risk of developing cataracts, according to a study led by Dr. June M. Weintraub at the Harvard Medical School in Boston. Weintraub and colleagues found that 25 years after quitting, former smokers' risk of cataract extraction (requiring cataracts to be removed) had dropped compared with that of current smokers. The results of this study suggest another reason to quit or not start smoking.

The researchers followed 4,281 cases of cataract among adults enrolled in the Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. They looked at the relationship between the amount of time since former smokers quit and how many of them needed cataracts removed 25 years later. When former smokers were compared with smokers and people who had never smoked, their relative risk of cataract was 20% less than that of current smokers. However, the risk for former smokers was not as low as for those who had never smoked.So Stop Smoking!

The researchers suspect that damage to the lens of the eye caused by toxins and free radicals in cigarette smoke may be the source of the increased risk of cataract among smokers. The findings suggest that any cataract-related damage to the eyes due to smoking heals very slowly, if ever. The report stresses the importance of never starting

People with primary nuclear cataract had similar results to those with primary posterior subcapsular cataract. Primary nuclear, or age-related, cataract produces slowly progressing symptoms and is the most common form of cataract. Subcapsular cataract is most likely to occur in people with diabetes, extreme nearsightedness, or retinitus pigmentosa, or people who take steroid medications. It does not produce symptoms until

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