Last month we reported on a study that found a positive correlation between having cataract surgery and a decreased chance of hip fractures. Today’s column addresses yet another crucial study performed which found that having cataract surgery might actually extend life. The study was published in the May issue of the prestigious medical journal “Ophthalmology”.
The authors followed over 350 patients in Australia for 15 years and compared patients who were close in age and had similar general medical health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. Those who had cataract surgery were 40% more likely to be alive at the end of the 15 years.
Why could this be? The authors postulated that good vision is a significant factor affecting emotional and physical well-being. In short, they stated that if you see better you feel better. This leads to a more optimistic view on life and the confidence to maintain an independent lifestyle.
Cataracts cause a very gradual change in vision, sometimes so slow that the patient is not really aware of it. The lens in the front of the eye gradually yellows, decreasing the amount of light that reaches the retina in the back of the eye. It is kind of like wearing dark brown sunglasses all the time.
A very frequent comment after cataract surgery is that everything looks so bright again – as though they are now seeing the world in high definition. Blues are more vivid and whites are whiter. So if you are “on the fence” about cataract surgery, the potential for your increased longevity is something to think about.
Dr. Martha Jay is a Board Certified ophthalmologist specializing in medical and surgical eye care such as small incision cataract surgery and blade-free LASIK vision correction. She practices at Lakeshore Eye Care Professionals with Drs. Josephine-Liezl Cueto and Mark German. They have offices in Mequon and Saukville, Wisconsin.
For more eye care information, call 262-241-1919 or visit www.LakeShoreVision.com.