April 09, 2018
1 min read

Cataract risk should be described on cigarette boxes

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Adding images to cigarette boxes to show the ocular side effects of smoking, similar to what is used in many European countries, could help reduce smoking, according to one ophthalmologist.

Cynthia A. Matossian, MD, FACS, was recently vacationing in Sardinia, Italy, when a discarded cigarette box caught her eye.

“It was an image of a cataract that covered the front and back of the cigarette box,” she told Healio.com/OSN. “It caught my attention because I had not seen that side effect promoted in the U.S.”

Research shows cataracts and vision loss risk can be nearly double for smokers compared with nonsmokers, and smoking is also associated with dry eye and a greater risk for diabetic retinopathy and uveitis, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

“There is published data that smokers develop cataracts at a younger age, and these cataracts progress at a faster rate among smokers than among non-cigarette smokers,” Matossian said.

She would like to see the United States adopt similar warning labels regarding ocular health and the dangers smoking can cause.

“Just like it grabbed my attention, hopefully adding pictures of the different side effects cigarette smoking causes might be a stronger deterrent for people to start smoking, or hopefully those who do smoke to quit smoking,” she said. “A picture says 1,000 words.” – by Rebecca L. Forand

For more information:

Cynthia A. Matossian, MD, FACS, can be reached at email: cmatossian@matossianeye.com.

Disclosure: Matossian reports no relevant financial disclosures.