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Cataract Surgery Can Help To Decrease Motor Accidents

August 13, 2013

A new study shows that having cataract surgery can help with road safety.

Driving can often times be scary, especially if you live in a place with harsh weather conditions season after season. During the spring and summer months, rain storms can compromise your vision and cause you to have difficulty seeing the roads in front of you. And during the winter months, snow storms do the same, only with slightly more dangerous conditions when you factor in ice and slush.

Driving through these kinds of weather changes may already have you gripping at your steering wheel and paying extra close attention to the lines on the road. However, when you add a vision problem on top of these conditions, you are not only putting yourself at risk for an accident, but you are also endangering the life of everyone on the road.


Cataracts are one particular vision problem that can significantly cloud your vision and make it difficult to drive, no matter what season or time of day. This common age-related vision problems typically affects people over the age of 40 and is caused by fibers in the eyes beginning to break down and cluster the lens.

The eye’s lens is held inside of a capsule and it is made up primarily of protein fibers and water arranged precisely so that light can pass throughout without interference. However, as these fibers begin to break down over time and the clouding becomes more dense, a greater area of the lens becomes covered and makes it more difficult to see. At this point, cataract surgery is typically necessary in order to restore vision back to normal.

However, new studies are reporting that cataract surgery may be able to do more than simply bring your vision back to 20/20. According to researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, treating your cataracts through surgery can also significantly reduce the frequency of road traffic accidents.

The group of researchers studied 277 patients with cataracts, all between the ages of 55 and 84. 174 of these patients had surgery, while the rest had not. According to the results of the study, there was a significant decrease in road accidents in patients who had cataract surgery―about a 50% reduced risk of getting into an accident compared to those who didn’t have the surgery, in fact.

“I think doctors, patients, the public in general, never really understood the extent to which cataracts could impact your driving ability,” says Cynthia Owsley, Ph.D., Professor of Ophthalmology at University of Alabama at Birmingham. Owsley even said that safety on the road is one of the most important reasons for a patient choosing cataract surgery over living with impaired vision.

If you are having problems with your vision while you are driving and think it may be attributed to the onset of cataracts, be sure to contact our vision experts at OCLI today. We can give you a complementary consultation that may just be your first step towards better vision.


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