A cataract results in the clouding of the clear lens in the eye and is one of the leading causes of vision impairment in Australia. Due to its association with ageing, eventually everyone will experience cataracts to some extent if they live long enough. By the age of 80, almost all of us will have some degree of cataract formation. Despite this, there have been reported cases of congenital cataracts i.e. cataracts developing in the early stages of infancy/childhood.
In a study published in May’s edition of The Journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, Australian researchers have concluded that patients who suffer from cataract-related vision loss who undergo surgery to improve their sight are living significantly longer than those who chose not to. The results illustrate a stark contrast between the two groups, with those who elect to undergo surgery experiencing a 40% lower long-term mortality risk than their counterparts.
The study took place over a period of 15 years (1992-2007), assessing a total of 354 people aged 49 years and older diagnosed with cataract-related vision loss. Some patients in this sample had undergone corrective surgery whilst others had not.
There was no definitive link between surgical correction of cataract-related visual impairment and a lower rate of mortality rate however factors such as, physical and emotional well-being, optimism, increased self-confidence and independence following surgery have been attributed to these results. Additionally, the improved ability to comply with prescription medications following surgery was also identified as an influence.
Cataracts are unfortunately a part of getting old, however there are several factors that put some over others at an increased risk of developing the disease including long-term and unprotected exposure to UV light (sunlight), smoking, diabetes and family history.
Cataracts can only be removed by surgery, however once removed they cannot redevelop. More than 180,000 cataract operations are performed in Australia every year.
Keeping on top of your eye health only becomes more important the older you get and has a direct impact on your personal agency and ability navigate your day to day life.
Book in with us for a consultation today and make eye health a part of your aging plan.