There are nearly 20 million cataract surgeries performed yearly – around 3.5 million of those in the U.S. – making it one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures in the world. Countless men and women who have undergone this surgery have enjoyed restored vision and, in many cases, a reduced need for prescription eyewear. But have these same patients also benefited from life-extension? According to a new study featured in the latest issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, most likely.
Taking place over the course of 20 years, this study included more than 74,000 women over the age of 65 who had been diagnosed with cataracts. Over half of these women, 41,735 of them, underwent cataract surgery to have their cloudy lenses removed and replaced with artificial options such as ReSTOR® and Crystalens.
During the course of this study, the women who had undergone cataract removal experienced a 60% lower rate of death than those who left their cataracts in place. This study’s findings are consistent with previous studies conducted on men and mixed groups of patients.
Does Cataract Surgery Make You Live Longer?
Does cataract surgery make you live longer? That may actually be in your hands.
According to Dr. Anne L. Coleman, one of the studies lead authors, it is not the surgery itself, but the opportunities provided by cataract removal that actually help extend life expectancy. Dr. Coleman is quoted in a New York Times article as saying, people who can see better, due to cataract surgery are able to “[M]ove more and get more exercise. They can see their pills better and may be more likely to take them and to take the right ones. The surgery also improves visual contrast, which decreases the risk of accidental deaths from falls or driving.
This point is interesting. The National Council on Aging reports that falls are the leading cause of fatal accidents for people over the age of 65, resulting in 27,000 deaths annually. The CDC reports that “Age-related declines in vision” remain a significant factor in the increased risk of death for drivers over the age of 70. And AAA reports that those over the age of 65, when involved in car accidents, are at 17x more risk for fatal injury than those under the age of 64. All of these findings seem to reinforce what Dr. Coleman suggests: cataract surgery enables patients to live a safer and more productive life. This, perhaps more than anything else, is responsible for the extended life-expectancy cataract surgery may offer.
Our cataract surgeons utilize LenSx® to perform bladeless cataract surgery. This advanced technology helps ensure optimal results and may reduce some of the risks associated with cataract surgery. Bladeless cataract removal reduces trauma and improves the surgical precision with which the operation is performed, allowing the ophthalmologists at our Fishkill and Poughkeepsie locations to produce the most pleasing results. We welcome an opportunity to answer any cataract surgery questions you may have and to discuss our laser cataract surgery technology in greater detail during your initial consultation.
If you live in Fishkill, Poughkeepsie, or a surrounding Hudson Valley community, call Seeta Eye Centers at 845-454-1025 to schedule a cataract surgery consultation and learn how our experienced cataract surgeons can improve your vision and your life-expectancy through targeted and personalized treatments.