Common cold bacteria may cause blindness, Urry, a noted ophthalmologist.

Recent study: The bacteria that causes respiratory infections, Chlamydia pneumoniae, was found in six of nine samples from patients who had age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in people over age 55 in the US. C. pneumoniae also has been linked to coronary artery disease, heart attack and cerebrovascular disease (related to the blood supply to the brain).

Theory: The bacteria cause inflammation, a factor in the development of macular degeneration.

Self-defense: Eat a heart-healthy diet, and avoid smoking.

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