Cataract Surgery Lessens Death Risk

Cataract surgery could benefit you much more than just restoring your vision. It could actually lengthen your life, according to the May edition of Ophthalmology.

A cohort study examined a five percent random sample of U.S. Medicare beneficiaries with cataracts between the years of 2002 to 2012 to examine the effects of cataract surgery on risk of death. The conclusion was that cataract surgery slightly decreased mortality incidence.

Of the 1.5 million cataract patients in sample, 36 percent underwent cataract surgery. Mortality incidence among patients who had surgery was 2.78 deaths per 100 person-years, compared to 2.98 deaths per 100 person-years among patients who did not have surgery. The strongest associations were in women, aged 80 to 84 years old, living in the western United States with severe cataract and moderate systemic disease burden.

The exact reason for this relationship between cataract surgery and death risk is not known, and the research team stated that further data needs to be gathered to examine this relationship further. A 2013 study published in Ophthalmology found that cataract surgery correcting visual impairment resulted in a 40 percent reduction in mortality risk compared with not having cataract surgery. According to Medscape, the research team suggested that factors influencing this trend may “include physical and emotional well-being, optimism and improved confidence associated with independent living after correcting cataract-related visual impairment” (Source: American Optometric Association).

Jeff Taylor, M.D., YourSightMatters medical director of the Ophthalmology Group in Paducah, Ky., has some practical insight on how cataract surgery could add quantity and quality to your life. In a recent interview with YourSightMatters, Dr. Taylor stated, “When you cannot see clearly, your activities and hobbies are restricted, so cataract surgery improves your quality of life. It can also prevent injury and actually keep you safe. The Journal of the American Medical Association released a study in 2012 detailing the reduced risk of hip fracture in seniors after cataract surgery.  In essence, you are safer on your feet and safer behind the wheel when you see better.”

Reclaim your independence and enjoy life to the fullest by talking to your ophthalmologist about the benefits of cataract surgery. If you are not currently under the care of a licensed eye care specialist, use our physician locator tool to find a qualified professional in your area.


Related Article:

Cataract Q&A with Dr. Jeff Taylor
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