Study Shows Cataract Surgery May Slow Cognitive Decline in Seniors

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Posted: May 6, 2019
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Cataracts occur when the clear lens of your eye becomes clouded with protein. This condition is common in older adults and can make it difficult to see.

Visual impairment in older adults has long been associated with diminished cognitive ability. Cognitive ability includes thinking, reasoning and remembering. Until now, little research had been conducted to show if cataract surgery could actually help slow cognitive decline in seniors.

Recently, the American Academy of Ophthalmology highlighted an impressive study from England, which explored the positive relationship between cataract surgery and long-term cognitive health. This study supports something that we already know: the benefits of cataract surgery extend beyond visual improvements.

A Closer Look at The Study

Elderly woman after cataract surgery at Susskind & Almallah Eye AssociatesThe study followed 2,068 adults who had cataract surgery and 3,636 adults who did not have cataracts. The researchers measured the participant’s cognitive abilities by administering a simple memory test.

The researchers administered this memory test before and after cataract surgery. They compared their findings to results gathered from older adults who did not have cataracts.

What they discovered was amazing. Before the surgery, patients with cataracts experienced a faster rate of cognitive decline than those without cataracts. After surgery, the rate of cognitive decline slowed by an impressive 50 percent! This information was measured over 13 years of follow-up.

Why Might Cataract Surgery Have a Positive Impact on Brain Health?

While the researchers who conducted this study aren’t entirely sure why undergoing cataract surgery helped slow cognitive decline, they have several theories:

  • Cataracts contribute to cognitive decline by lowering self-efficacy and increasing social isolation and depression.
  • The sensory deprivation caused by cataracts has a negative impact on brain function.
  • By improving a patient’s eyesight, cataract surgery can lead to increased physical activity, an improved social life, better mood, and higher self-efficacy. These things support cognitive function and provide mental stimulation.

Other Impressive Benefits of Cataract Surgery

The most significant and obvious benefit of cataract surgery is improved vision. However, studies like the one discussed above continue to reveal unexpected benefits, such as:

  • A decreased risk of falls and fractures
  • A higher chance of living longer
  • Improved quality of life
  • Less difficulty driving and a lower crash rate  

Even if you think that you or a loved one may be too old for cataract surgery, schedule a consultation with our experienced, board-certified ophthalmologists. There is no upper age limit when it comes to cataract surgery, and the benefits of the procedure are significant.

At Susskind & Almallah Eye Associates, we perform laser-assisted cataracts surgery using the Catalys® Precision Laser System. We offer a wide range of premium intraocular lenses to replace your clouded lens and restore your vision. In addition to correcting your cataracts, these lenses can improve visual issues such as astigmatism and age-related farsightedness.

Schedule Your NJ Cataract Surgery Consultation

Call 732-349-5622 to learn more about cataract surgery and receive individualized treatment recommendations. At Susskind & Almallah Eye Associates, we proudly serve patients from across New Jersey at our convenient Manalapan Township, Toms River, Brick, and Barnegat locations.