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Public Need Warning on Smoking and Blindness Link
"A sustained public health campaign in the UK is warranted to raise awareness of the link between smoking and blindness”, say the authors in the renowned British Medical Journal. "This should include offering smoking cessation support to people attending eye clinics and more novel, varied, and specific pack warnings of the impact of smoking on eyesight.”
AMD is the most common cause of adult blindness, which results in severe irreversible loss of central vision.
One in five cases of AMD in the UK may be attributable to smoking. Around 54,000 smokers over 69 years have AMD and nearly 18,000 of them are already blind.
Evidence also shows that stopping smoking slows the development of AMD, whereas continued smoking can affect the long term response to AMD treatments such as laser therapy.
Anita Lightstone, RNIB's Head of Eye Health adds, "People fear losing their sight more than any other sense. Therefore the fact that smoking does significantly increase a person's chances of losing sight from age-related macular degeneration (AMD), should be more widely publicised. Awareness needs to be raised and an eye health warning included on all cigarette packets, to help reduce the number of people losing their sight from AMD."
- More news from the RNIB can be found at: www.rnib.org.uk