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Cataract Surgery for Senior Drivers Tied to Reduced Car Crash Risk & Costs

November 22, 2018

Cataract surgery can reduce a senior’s risk of a car crash by 61 percent. That’s the astounding finding of a study conducted by Australian researchers who also looked at how cataract surgery reduced other risks and costs associated with impaired vision. 

Their study assessed 2,849 drivers ages 60 and older who had undergone cataract surgery on both eyes and been involved in car crashes while driving. Most of the study participants were married men, ages 70 and older. Almost all of them had at least one other health problem.

A note to help understand the study better: Cataract surgery is performed on one eye at a time, so a second surgery is required when a patient has cataracts in both eyes.

1,312 participants were involved in 1,347 crashes in the year before they had their first surgery. 775 participants were involved in 850 crashes in between their first and second surgery. 895 participants were involved in 916 crashes as the driver in the year following the second surgery.

After factoring in other risk variables, the researchers found a 61 percent reduction in crash risk after these drivers’ first cataract surgery and a 23 percent reduction in accidents after their second.

Translated into US currency, these accidents cost $57.3 million in the year before the first eye surgery and $42.9 million in the year after the second eye surgery. Researchers calculated the total cost of the surgeries was $3.6 million, revealing cataract surgery netted a community savings of $7.5 million.

This latest research dovetails with earlier studies indicating cataract surgery reduces mortality, falls, and the odds of hip fractures, increases the quality of life, and extends longevity.

Considering nearly 50 percent of people over the age of 65 have cataracts, the findings this study and others like it show the role cataract surgery plays in promoting multiple aspects wellbeing.

At OCLI, we pride ourselves on keeping abreast of the latest in leading-edge technology to deliver the highest quality of care and optimal outcomes to our patients. When it comes to cataract surgery, this means offering preoperative Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) as a value-added service.

Why is this service so important? Today’s cataract patients have much higher expectations about their outcomes than previous generations. At OCLI, our cataract patients often have other eye problems they’re not even aware of. Without the technology to detect these other problems – problems that are only detectable with OCT – it would be less likely we could provide the ideal outcome we’re known for.

Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed eye procedures with one of the highest satisfaction rates and proven improvement in patients’ quality of life. At OCLI, you’ll find advocates and partners in helping you and those you love to see the world more clearly. To learn more about cataract surgery or other eye care services, contact us today and see why we’re known as New Jersey’s friendliest and most advanced vision health provider.

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