What an interesting concept. If you have cataract surgery you can live longer? A new study out of Australia called the Blue Mountain Eye Study took 354 patients with cataracts aged 49 and older and followed them over a period of 15 years. Some patients had cataract surgery, where others did not. It was found that 40% of patients who had surgery had a lower long-term mortality rate than those who opted not to have surgery.
The association between correction of cataract related visual impairment and reduced mortality rate is not clearly understood. Some factors that may effect this outcome includes improved physical and emotional well-being, optimism, a greater ability to comply with prescription medication, greater confidence associated with independent living.
At North Toronto Eye Care we have all seen patients who have had loss of vision due to cataracts change emotionally and physically after surgery. Patients seem happier, more independent, and more confident. Cataract surgery allows people to see again, and may see better than they had previous to cataract surgery. It’s no surprise to me that a study shows that patients who have cataract surgery live longer lives. Being independent is critical to quality of life, and cataract surgery can preserve an aspect of this.
So the next time you see your ophthalmologist consider that they are not just preserving your vision but the length of your life.
Fong CS, Mitchell P, Rochtchina E, Teber ET, Hong T, Wang JJ. Correction of visual impairment by cataract surgery and improved survival in older persons: the Blue Mountains Eye Study cohort. Ophthalmology. 2013 Sep;120(9):1720-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2013.02.009. Epub 2013 May 9.