People who improve their vision after cataract surgery can reduce their risk of falling and breaking a hip. We’re not talking about a small improvement–among people in their early 80s or who are sick, the risk of breaking a hip was reduced by about 30% in the first year after the surgery.
According to an article in The New York Times, there are numerous benefits to cataract surgery, beyond the obvious one of improving vision. People who have had cataract surgery have better quality of life, improved sleep, experience less depression, and feel more mentally alert. And because of the improvement in vision and alertness, people who have had cataract surgery have fewer falls, and therefore are less likely to break a hip. Among people older than age 80, hip fractures can be serious–even fatal–injuries.
“This is elective surgery, and sometimes people think, ‘I’m too sick to have my cataracts out,’ or ‘I’m too old,’ ” said Dr. Anne L. Coleman, the study’s lead author and a professor of ophthalmology at the Jules Stein Eye Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles. “But the take-home message from this study is that if you’re starting to have vision problems and the doctor says you have cataracts, you should probably think of having them removed.”
This exciting research suggests that cataract surgery can benefit just about anyone. This is especially true for people who are living in a nursing home–improved vision could mean improved physical and emotional health.