Surgeons perform 10 million cataract surgeries worldwide each year, making it one of the most common surgeries performed today. Usually, it only requires local anesthesia, and patients can resume their normal activities within days. The success rate of cataract surgery is high, and the risks are minimal. In addition, new research finds that cataract surgery could offer an unexpected benefit: a reduced risk of developing dementia.
Cataract Surgery Lowers Dementia Risk by 30 Percent
“The Adult Changes in Thought” study observed 5,000 patients over age 65. Based on data from 3,000 participants, the research team discovered that patients who had cataract surgery experienced a 30 percent lower risk of developing dementia than patients who did not have cataract surgery. Additionally, they found the reduced risk of dementia lasted at least a decade after surgery.
“This is really exciting because no other medical intervention has shown such a strong association with lessening dementia risk in older individuals,” said Cecilia S Lee, M.D., associate professor and Klorfine Family Endowed Chair in ophthalmology at the University of Washington School of Medicine and the lead researcher for the study.
The study did not provide specific reasons why cataract surgery would lower the risk for dementia. However, the research team surmises patients may receive “higher quality sensory input” following cataract removal, which could delay, prevent or slow the development of dementia (UW Medicine).
Other Health Benefits of Cataract Surgery
Cataract surgery can offer many other health benefits besides a lower risk for dementia.
- Higher quality of life. After cataract surgery, you can resume the activities you enjoy like reading, gardening, cooking and driving a car. One study found that cataract surgery improves the quality of life by 36 percent.
- Fewer injuries. Improved vision reduces the risk of falls and fractures, a significant cause of injury in older adults. Cataract surgery also improves night driving and reduces the risk of car accidents.
- Increased independence. Seeing clearly can allow older adults to maintain their freedom of living safely at home. You can preserve your independence when you can read medicine bottles, recipes and street signs.
Make an Appointment with Your Ophthalmologist
Cataract surgery offers so many benefits for your vision and overall health. Make clear vision a top priority this year by making an appointment with your ophthalmologist. Call today to make an appointment.