Smokers are more prone to losing their eyesight later in life than non-smokers, says a British study.
There are around 500,000 people in the UK with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Of these, an estimated 54,000 people have the condition as a result of smoking.
AMD usually develops after a person reaches 50 years and affects the central part of the retina of the eye. A report by AMD Alliance UK, based on a survey of 1,023 British adults, reveals that only seven percent of people know that AMD affects the eyes, reports the online edition of Daily Mail.
Steve Winyard, head of campaigns at the Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB) and chairman of AMD Alliance UK, said: "Smoking is the only proven cause of AMD that people can do anything about, yet people are not aware of the link and most people have not even heard of the condition.
"The message is simple - do not take up smoking, and if you do, stop."
The RNIB is calling on the government to introduce warnings on cigarette packets about the risk of AMD and to fund a public awareness campaign on the dangers of smoking to eyesight.