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Environmental tobacco smoke exposure and eye disease


Aim: To undertake a systematic review of the literature on the effect of environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) and eye disease.

Methods: Medline (1950–January Week 2 2007), EMBASE (1980 to 2007 Week 07), SCOPUS and Science Direct were searched on ETS exposure and eye disease using various combinations of the following terms: passive smoking, environmental tobacco smoke, sidestream smoke, involuntary smoking, secondhand smoke; with eye, conjunctiva, sclera, episclera, cornea, lens, iris, retina, choroid, uvea, optic nerve, uveitis, iritis, blindness, visual loss, cataract, thyroid eye disease, conjunctivitis, age-related macular degeneration, dry eye, tears. The above terms were also used to search abstracts published on The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology Annual Meeting abstracts, from 1995 to 2006, and the grey literature, including PhD and MSc theses/dissertations. A search was further conducted specifically on eye diseases where active smoking has been proposed to be a risk factor, including age-related macular degeneration, Graves ophthalmology, glaucoma, uveitis, refractive errors, strabismus, tobacco-alcohol amblyopia, non-arteritic ischaemic optic neuropathy, Leber optic neuropathy and diabetic retinopathy. Given the scarce number of studies found through the above search, all articles found on ETS and eye disease were included in this review.

Results: Seven studies evaluated the possible relationship between ETS and an eye disease. These studies referred to refractive errors in children (n = 2), cataract (n = 1), age-related macular degeneration (n = 3) and Grave ophthalmopathy (n = 1). The data available were insufficient to establish conclusive relationships between ETS and these eye diseases.

Conclusion: Very scarce data exist in the literature on the effect of ETS on diseases of the eye. It seems appropriate that ETS should be included in future studies addressing the effect of smoking on eye disease.

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