Smoking (1999) & Lebers Risk Factors

Learn more about Leber's Hereditary Optic Neuropathy.

Smoking has long been identified as a factor in higher risk for many diseases and vision conditions. This research identified smoking as a causative factor for Leber's as well.

Leber's is a hereditary condition, passed through the mother, where mitochondria mutate in the retinal nerves, causing loss of central vision.

In this study researchers matched family members, analyzing both combined male/female family groups and subgroups of men, where there was an inherited risk of Leber's. They found a significant connection between smoking and incidence of Leber's in all the subgroups, with a higher rate in males. The connection was higher in older aged groups and where smoking rates were higher.

The researchers concluded that the amount of smoking and number of years which subjects had been smoking were also correlated with higher risk of Leber's symptoms.

Researchers: K. Tsao, P. Aitken, and D. Johns

Published: Smoking as an aetiological factor in a pedigree with Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy, British Journal of Ophthalmology, 1999 May; 83(5): 577-581.