Besides the obvious benefit of restored vision, here is yet another reason to elect to have cataract surgery: it can lengthen your life! According to the most recent edition of Ophthalmology, cataract surgery actually decreased mortality incidence in a random-sample study.
The cohort study followed a five-percent random sample of U.S. Medicare beneficiaries diagnosed with cataracts between the years of 2002 to 2012. About 36 percent of the 1.5 million individuals had cataract surgery. Results showed 2.77 deaths per 100 person-years in the cataract surgery group compared to 2.98 deaths per 100-person years in patients who did not have cataract surgery.
A large study published in Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) in 2012 showed a link between cataract surgery and reduced rate of hip fractures in the elderly. This truly supports a decreased mortality rate after cataract surgery because hip fractures are a significant cause of death in the elderly.
Although the research team agrees that more studies need to be conducted to determine the exact reason that cataract surgery lengthens life, some experts have their own conclusions. Bradley Lane, O.D., AOA Health Promotions Committee member, says that it is clear that removing cataracts to improve a patient’s vision is important for wellness.
"As we all know, clear vision is important for most all aspects of life experiences: A grandchild's graduation, weddings and making memories," Dr. Lane says. "We rely heavily on sight, and ensuring the patient has clear vision is much more than simply providing a pair of glasses. Because pathology can restrict a patient's vision, it is important for doctors of optometry to be aware of the ocular diseases and disorders that can inhibit optimal vision function, including cataracts."
These studies connecting cataract surgery with longer life are essential because cataracts affect over 24.4 million Americans age 50 and older. By the age of 80, more than half of all Americans will either have a cataract or have had cataract surgery. Knowing the benefits of cataract surgery and how it can increase quality and quantity of life could make all the difference in whether a patient chooses to have the procedure. Clear vision and more time to enjoy life are just two of many reasons to consider cataract surgery (Source: American Optometric Association).
If you have questions about cataract surgery and whether you may be a candidate, talk to your ophthalmologist today.