Giving up smoking can help improve people"s eyesight, according to a new study.
Research conducted at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) found that smoking regularly, even after the age of 80, can increase the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
The study found that, overall, smokers have an 11 per cent higher rate of AMD than non-smokers, while beyond the age of 80 smokers were 5.5 times more likely to develop AMD.
"The take-home message is that it"s never too late to quit smoking," commented the study"s leader Dr Anne Coleman, professor of ophthalmology at the Jules Stein Eye Institute, UCLA.
"We found that even older people"s eyes will benefit from kicking the habit."
AMD causes darkening and blurring of central vision, and prevents people from being able to read, drive and recognise faces.
According to the Royal National Institute of Blind People, AMD is the most common cause of poor sight in people over 60 but very rarely leads to complete sight loss.
by Martin Burns