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Curr Opin Ophthalmol. 2011 Nov;22(6):477-82. doi: 10.1097/ICU.0b013e32834bbe7a.

Effects of smoking on ocular health.

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Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, University of Miami, Miami Veterans Administration Medical Center, Miami Florida, USA.



To review recent data on the effects of smoking on ocular health.


Smoking has been associated with a myriad of negative ocular health effects including age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) and cataract. Most recently, several papers have demonstrated a connection between smoking and ocular inflammation. Smokers are both more likely to develop ocular inflammation and to have more severe disease as manifested by poorer presenting vision and a higher risk of recurrent disease compared to nonsmokers. Smoking has also been shown to enhance the effect of genetic susceptibility with regards to the presence and development of ARMD. Finally, the negative effects of smoking on ocular disease have been increasingly documented in nonwhite populations outside of the USA. However, despite the abundance of data, public awareness on the adverse consequences of smoking on vision is lacking in the USA. In contrast, Australia improved public knowledge by launching a successful antitobacco health campaign highlighting the effects of smoking on ocular health.


These findings suggest that eye care professionals should discuss and offer options for smoking cessation as part of the management of patients with ocular diseases, especially in those with ocular inflammation, ARMD, lens opacities/cataract, and thyroid-associated orbitopathy. Health campaigns using existing medical data can improve public awareness on the connection between tobacco and visual impairment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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