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Cataract Surgery Linked to a Longer Life

By age 80, that fraction rises to half. When needed, cataract surgery can help people see better, but the benefits may not end there. A study shows that having cataract surgery is also associated with living longer.

The study included more than 74,000 women ages 65 and older who had cataracts. Those who got cataract surgery were less likely to die of any cause during the long-running study. They were also less likely to die of specific conditions such as:

  • Accidental injuries

  • Cancer

  • Blood vessel disease

  • Lung disease

Better Vision for a Better Life

How might cataract surgery and a longer life be connected? For one thing, improved vision reduces the risk for injuries due to falls and driving accidents.

Plus, having a cataract can limit the ability to take part in many activities. Getting surgery to treat the problem helps people with cataracts get back to doing more things they want to do. And that may empower them to lead a healthier, more active life.

Who Needs Cataract Surgery?

At first, an older loved one with a cataract may be able to manage with eyeglasses and magnifying lenses. But as the cataract gets worse, these steps may not be enough. Vision loss can begin interfering with daily activities, such as driving and reading. At this point, surgery is the only effective treatment.

During cataract surgery, the cloudy natural lens of the eye is removed. Then it’s replaced with a clear artificial lens. Ninety percent of people who have the surgery can see better afterward.

As with any surgery, there are risks. They include infection, bleeding, and, rarely, a detached retina. In general, however, it’s a very safe procedure. If your loved one has a cataract that’s causing problems in everyday life, it’s time for a conversation with the eye doctor about surgery.

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Online Medical Reviewer: Godsey, Cynthia, MSN, APRN, MSHE, FNP-BC
Online Medical Reviewer: Watson, L Renee, MSN, RN
Date Last Reviewed: 2/1/2019
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