Cataract Surgery May Extend Life

Treating cataracts with surgery can not only improve vision in older adults, new research has found that older women who get surgery to treat this common eye problem are less likely to die prematurely. 

According to a report by Reuters, a large scale study out of the Fielding School of Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles, found that women who had cataract surgery were less likely to die early as a result of accidents, infections, vascular diseases or pulmonary problems.

The study examined data gathered on 74,044 women with an average age of 71 who had cataracts between 1993 and 2013.  The 41,735 women who had cataract surgery were found to be 60 per less likely to die from all causes during the course of the study.

Cataracts are common among elderly adults and by age 80, nearly half of all Americans will have developed cataracts or have had cataract surgery.   When a cataract develops in the eye, vision becomes cloudy as old cells build up in the eye’s lens; 95 per cent of cataracts are age-related. Surgery replaces the damaged lens with a new lens allowing patients to see clearly again.

Being able to see clearly allows older adults the freedom to participate in activities, exercise, drive, visit the doctor regularly, fill prescriptions and generally take better care of themselves. Treating vision loss can not only extend life; being able to see well vastly improves the overall quality of life for older adults.   Seniors should have regular eye exams every one to two years to check for cataracts and other vision problems which may have a direct impact on health and longevity.

June marks Cataract Awareness Month, a campaign designed to raise awareness about this common vision problem.  Learn more by visiting the Prevent Blindness website.