There’s good news for people struggling with the visual deterioration caused by cataracts. Recent research suggests that cataract surgery not only improves poor vision, it may also prolong a person’s life. Below, the team at Island Eye Surgicenter breaks down the research in more detail.
Better Vision and a Longer Life
A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s normally clear lens. Over time, the proteins of the lens can clump together, creating cloudy, discolored areas. As cataracts grow, they make it harder to see clearly. Many people have described having cataracts as looking through a cloudy window. Colors may start to look less vibrant than usual, and color contrast can be lost. The eyes may seem especially sensitive to light. Driving at night may be difficult because of the glare created by oncoming headlights.
Cataract surgery involves removing the eye’s lens and replacing it with an artificial lens. It is the most commonly performed procedure in the United States and has a very high success rate.
Based on the results of a huge study from the Stein Eye Institute of the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, patients that have cataract surgery live longer than those that do not have cataracts removed.
The Stein Eye Institute team looked at the medical data of over 74,000 women, all of whom were over the age of 65 and had cataracts, for a 20-year period. Nearly 42,000 of the women had cataract surgery; the others did not. The results of the study showed a 60 percent lower risk of death among the women that had cataract surgery.
The women that had cataract surgery and lived longer were not necessarily healthier than those that did not have cataract surgery. In fact, the opposite was true: the group of cataract surgery patients had more heart attacks, chronic pulmonary disease, peptic ulcers and glaucoma than their counterparts that did not have surgery.
How exactly does cataract surgery extend a person’s life? The researchers believe that when people can see better, they can exercise and live a more active life. They can see their medicine bottles more clearly and may be more likely to take their prescribed medicine at the right dosage. Cataract surgery can also improve visual contrast, reducing the chances of an accidental fall or motor vehicle collision.
Schedule a Cataract Surgery Consult
If you are starting to notice symptoms of what you think may be cataracts, the team at Island Eye Surgicenter encourages you to schedule an informational consultation with our cataract surgeons. To request an appointment, please call (516) 877-2400 or email us today.