By now, most people are aware that cataract surgery is a highly successful way to improve hazy vision. Performed regularly at Mittleman Eye, this straightforward procedure involves removing the eye’s natural lens that has been clouded with cataracts and replacing it with an IOL (intraocular lens).
What experts are only just discovering, however, is that the benefits of cataract surgery may go beyond vision. Exciting new research published in the prestigious JAMA Internal Medicine journal finds that patients who had cataract surgery have a 30% lower risk of developing dementia than patients who did not have the surgery.
Learning More about the Study
The study examined thousands of senior citizen patients in the Seattle area. Using longitudinal data, the researchers were able to verify that those who had cataract surgery were much less likely to subsequently develop dementia within the following 10 years. The research looked for Alzheimer’s disease as well as other forms of dementia.
As a point of comparison, researchers also looked at the dementia-related numbers for patients who had a separate eye procedure: glaucoma surgery. The rate at which people who had glaucoma surgery was the same as those who did not have the surgery. That finding certainly strengthens the idea that cataract surgery has special cognitive benefits.
Because of the nature of the study, this research can only indicate correlation rather than causation. In fact, trying to prove causation in the future may be difficult (if not unethical) since it would require making some people who could benefit from cataract surgery forego the procedure to better study their rates of dementia.
This research is in line with previous studies that found that vision and hearing loss elevate the risk for cognitive decline. Whether this occurs because of a link between physical and mental health or because people who develop vision and hearing problems are more likely to withdraw (and therefore less likely to work, exercise, read and meet up with friends) is unclear.
Discuss Cataract Surgery with an Expert
While experts are still learning more about this subject, this research is yet another reason why you should prioritize getting cataract surgery when your vision begins to cloud. A surgery that is effective at restoring clear vision and may also dramatically reduce your risk of developing dementia is a worthwhile procedure.
Mittleman Eye is home to the top eye doctors and cataract surgeons in West Palm Beach & Jupiter, Florida. You may schedule an appointment directly online, or call or text (561) 500-2020 to start a conversation with our staff to arrange an appointment.