Everyone understands that cataract surgery improves vision, but it may even save your life! Vision is our most important sense; we are very dependent on sight for almost everything we do in life, and by restoring better vision, it can impact our driving, our walking, and our ability to take care of ourselves.
A 2012 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that having cataract surgery was associated with a decreased risk of hip fractures. The researchers examined at the records of over one million Medicare patients over a 7 year period who had cataracts. Of these, 36% had cataract surgery. In the following year, the seniors with cataract surgery were 16 percent less likely to have a hip fracture than the seniors who did not have surgery. For those with severe cataracts, the protective effect was even greater.
Dr. Ethel Siris, director of the Toni Stabile Osteoporosis Center at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, has commented, "This really does make complete sense and documents nicely what we have always said: Any improvement in vision that can be accomplished easily in an elderly patient would be expected to reduce the risk of falling and therefore of fractures -- especially hip fractures."
Another study published in September 2013 in the Journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology found that patients with cataract surgery were more likely to live longer. The fifteen year study looked at a total of 354 Australians older than 49 years and diagnosed with cataracts. Some of these people had cataract surgery and others did not. After adjusting for a variety of factors, the data showed a 40 percent lower mortality risk in people who had cataract surgery.
Jie Jin Wang, Ph.D., a lead researcher of the study, surmised, "It suggests to ophthalmologists that correcting cataract patients' visual impairment in their daily practice results in improved outcomes beyond that of the eye and vision, and has important impacts on general health."
It’s very important for seniors to have their eyes checked and consider cataract surgery whenever their vision is compromised. It’s not just that the TV picture will be clearer, it might just save their life.