People with cataract related vision loss who have had cataract surgery to improve their sight are living longer than those with visual impairment who chose not to have the procedure, according to research published in Ophthalmology, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Infact, the researchers found a 40 percent lower long-term mortality risk in those who had the cataract surgery.
This research is from data gathered in the Blue Mountains Eye Study, a population-based study of vision and common eye diseases in an older Australian population. Adjustments were made for age and gender as well as a number of mortality risk factors, including hypertension, diabetes, smoking, cardiovascular disease, body mass index and measures of frailty and other disease. Follow-up visits took place after five and ten years since the baseline exam.
Previous research had indicated that older persons with visual impairment were likely to have greater mortality risk than their age peers with normal vision, and that cataract surgery might reduce this risk. These studies – unlike the Blue Mountains Eye Study – compared people who had undergone cataract surgery with those in the general population or with those who had not had cataract surgery, and did not link vision status to the surgical status.
The association between correction of cataract-related visual impairment and reduced mortality risk is not clearly understood, but plausible factors may include improvements in physical and emotional well-being, optimism, greater confidence associated with independent living after vision improvement, as well as greater ability to comply with prescription medications.
Cataract is a leading cause of treatable visual impairment that will affect more than half of all Americans by the time they are 80 years old. Cataract surgery to remove the opaque lens and replace it with an artificial lens implant is one of the most common surgeries performed in the U.S. today and is regarded as a very successful procedure of cataract treatment. Today, at The Eye Clinic of Texas we provide a safe, reproducible and gentle cataract surgery procedure in conjunction with advanced technology lens implants to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and even the near vision focusing problems of aging to help patients be independent of eyeglasses after their cataract surgery. If cataracts have made completing everyday tasks difficult, if you are having difficulty with night driving or feel your are not quite as mobile as you would like-cataract surgery should be discussed with Drs. Milstein or Van to help determine the best course of action.