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Cigarette Smoking and Lens Opacities: The Beaver Dam Eye Study

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      We evaluated the relationship between cigarette smoking behavior and lens opacities in cross-sectional data on 4,926 adults in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. The frequencies of more severe levels of nuclear sclerosis increased with packyears of cigarette smoking in women and men. For women, the odds ratio (OR) associated with 10 packyears was 1.09 (confidence interval [CI] = 1.04,1.16) and for men it was 1.09 (CI = 1.05,1.14) after controlling for age. The frequencies of posterior subcapsular opacities also increased in both sexes with increased packyears. The OR associated with 10 packyears of cigarette smoking was 1.06 (CI = 0.98,1.14) for women and 1.05 (CI = 1.00,1.11) for men after controlling for age. There was no significant effect on cortical opacities. Smoking was associated with past cataract surgery. The significant relationships of smoking with lens opacities suggest an etiologic effect. If confirmed prospectively, our results would indicate another benefit of smoking cessation.
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