Cataract surgery already helps millions of people see clearly every year, but new research is also linking it to a decrease in mortality rates.
Cataracts are the clouding of the eye’s natural lens, and they are the leading cause of blindness in the world. In the U.S. alone, cataracts affect more than 22 million men and women over 40. There are things that you can do to reduce your risk of cataracts, but there’s nothing you can do to prevent them entirely. That’s why cataract surgery has become the most commonly performed procedure in the U.S. Over 3 million people each year have their cataracts removed.
And that’s why it’s so exciting to see that cataract surgery may be doing more than just helping people see better. A study in the May edition of Ophthalmology looked at a five-percent random sample of U.S. Medicare beneficiaries with a cataract diagnosis from 2002 to 2012, and found that there was a slight decrease in the incidence of mortality in patients who underwent cataract surgery.
During cataract surgery, the surgeon will remove the clouded lens and replace it with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL), restoring clear vision to the patient.
The exact reason for the drop in mortality incidence isn’t entirely clear, but researchers point to the increase in quality of life that comes with clear, unblemished vision. Optimism, confidence, and physical and emotional well being can all increase in a patient after they have their cataracts removed.
That makes sense when you look at it from the patient’s point of view. Our vision is our most important sense, and quality of life can easily decline when we have trouble seeing. Imagine the difference between clearly watching a grandchild’s wedding and missing parts because your cataracts have blurred your vision. Weddings, graduations, and even just dinners with your family are all important parts of life that no one wants to miss. Feeling left out or unable to contribute due to your cataracts can be emotionally damaging.
Emotional health is linked to overall physical well being, and it’s easy to see how the stress and anxiety that comes with poor vision could lead to physical health problems. In fact, unchecked stress can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity, meaning that seemingly unrelated vision issues can have an effect on a person’s entire body. Trouble sleeping, fatigue, and headaches are all also symptoms of stress that your body may exhibit.
So maybe it’s time to think about a safe, effective, and relatively quick procedure that millions of people just like you go through each year.
If you’re thinking about cataract surgery, remember that it isn’t just your vision that you’re protecting when you go in for the procedure. So give us a call at (973) 560-1500 if you’d like to set up a consultation and find out what your options are for cataract surgery. Don’t wait another day with poor vision; contact OCLI today for more information.