-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Sept. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Beside enjoying better
eyesight, people who undergo cataract surgery may see another
advantage: Those with cataract-related vision loss who have surgery
to improve their sight have a lower risk of death than those who
don't, a new study suggests.
Researchers looked at 354 people, 49 and older, in Australia
with cataract-related vision loss who underwent an initial
assessment between 1992 and 2007 and had follow-up visits five and
10 years after the first exam.
Those who'd had cataract surgery had a 40 percent lower
long-term risk of death than those who did not have surgery,
according to the study published in the September issue of the
Previous studies have suggested that older people with
cataract-related vision loss had a higher risk of death than people
the same age with normal vision, and that cataract surgery might
reduce this risk.
"Our finding complements the previously documented associations between visual impairment and increased mortality among older persons," study co-leader Jie Jin Wang, of the Westmead Millennium Institute, said in a journal news release. "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."
The reasons why cataract surgery may reduce death risk aren't
clear, but may be due to factors such as better physical and
emotional well-being, an improved ability to comply with
prescription medications and greater confidence associated with
While the study found an association between having cataract
surgery and lower death risk for those with cataract-related vision
loss, it did not establish a cause-and-effect relationship.
Wang noted that some people may have had other health problems
that prevented them from having cataract surgery and these other
health problems could explain why people who did not have cataract
surgery had a higher death risk.
Cataract is a leading cause of visual loss and affects more than
half of Americans by the time they are 80 years old, according to
the news release.
The U.S. National Eye Institute has more about
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