Cataract Surgery Helps You Live Longer?
A new study proves that cataract surgery may do a lot more than just improve a patient’s vision. It could actually give you the ability to live a longer life!
Facts about the study:
- The study lasted 20 years
- The study included over 74,000 women (age 65 and older) with cataracts
There was a 60 percent lower risk of death among the 41,735 women who had their cataracts removed!
Cataract surgery gave them a better, more enjoyable life (where they could see) while living, but also a longer life!
Interestingly enough, as a group, these women actually had more heart attacks, chronic pulmonary disease, peptic ulcers and glaucoma than those who did not have the cataract surgery. The women who had cataract surgery lived longer, even though they were sicker, in comparison to the others to begin with.
Those patients who had cataract surgery had reduced risks of subsequent death from cardiovascular, pulmonary, neurological and infectious diseases, as well as cancer and accidents.
We believe that when people can see better:
- They can actually exercise, move more, and move “better”
- Patients had trouble seeing their medications and pills prior to the surgery, so it is likely they may now be more able to take them and actually take the right ones!
- Cataract surgery improves a patient’s ability to see contrast, which decreases their risk of accidental deaths from driving or falling.
- Cataracts are the most frequent cause of vision loss in people over 40.
- Cataracts form with age and we always tell patients that anyone who lives long enough is likely to develop a cataract.
- Common risk factors of cataracts include:
- Exposure to UV radiation (aka sunlight)
- Family history
- High blood pressure
- Prolonged use of corticosteroids
- Extreme nearsightedness.
Can I do anything to reduce the risk of cataracts?
- Wear sunglasses (the ones that block 100 percent of UV rays)
- Wear a hat to block sunlight
- Eat lots of foods rich in vitamin E (i.e. almonds, spinach, sunflower seeds, sweet potatoes, etc.)
- Eat leafy greens or foods with the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin (found in kale, spinach and other dark green leafy vegetables)
- Take omega-3 fatty acids (can be in pill form but also found in in spinach and oily fish like mackerel, salmon and sardines)
Cataract Surgery 411
Did you know Cataract surgery is the most frequently performed operation in the United States?
- More than 3 million Americans have cataracts removed each year, according to the organization Prevent Blindness America.
What does the actual procedure do? The cloudy lens is removed out of the eye with a tiny instrument and an artificial lens is inserted in its place.
Major advances since the 1980s have occurred in cataract surgery:
- Patients used to need general anesthesia and sleep nights in the hospital spending weeks recovering in bed.
Now, all you need is a local anesthetic and the incisions are tinier requiring no stitches. After only around half an hour in recovery, patients can now actually go home.
Eyes can usually be taken care of 2 weeks apart and the recuperation time is fast.
- Surgeons used to wait until cataracts were “ripe” and vision had to seriously disappear before telling patients it was time for surgery; now, research has proven that the longer the surgeons wait, the more difficult of a surgery as cataracts become more dense with time and are harder to remove.
Cataract surgery is one of the most successful surgeries we know of with a 98 percent success rate.
The lenses you choose are Important
The artificial lenses that the surgeon will use to replace your clouded lenses come in several varieties and are now geared to a patient’s specific desires and lifestyles.
For example, an avid golfer, or a runner may want a different lens than a book author.
There are lenses that correct near as well as distance vision and even lenses that shift focus on near or distant objects in response to eye muscle movements; and bifocal or progressive lenses. There are new lenses that reach the market every year.
However, once you are diagnosed with a cataract, and you are ready to get evaluated for potential surgery, most important thing in going forward is selecting the right surgeon you trust who will guide you through the process of what lenses are right for you and what to expect from your surgery.
Here, at The Center for Excellence in Eye Care, we have years of experience with laser cataract surgery as the first practice in Miami to perform the procedure. Our surgeons have had years of experience with different intraocular lenses and their outcomes so we are here to answer any questions. Give us a call today to find out more and make an appointment at 305-598-2020!
* The study’s findings were published online in JAMA Ophthalmology in October by Dr. Anne L. Coleman and colleagues at the Stein Eye Institute of the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, with Dr. Victoria L. Tseng as lead author.
New York Times. Brody, Jane E. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/04/well/live/cataract-surgery-may-prolong-your-life.html. Published December 4, 2017. Accessed December 10, 2017.