The Blue Mountains Eye Study looked at 354 people over aged 48 who had visual impairment from cataracts. Some had already had cataracts surgery to replace the clouded cataract(s) and restore vision, and some got the surgery during the study. Within the group were controls who had visual impairment from cataracts and did not have the surgery. The researchers followed the patients for 15 years.
After adjusting for gender and age, the data showed a significant increase in longevity for the patients who had the surgery. This result persisted even after adjusting for tobacco use, BMI, certain heart problems, mobility, and certain major diseases that impact longevity. Accounting for the number of medications the patients were taking and using objective measures of frailty still showed the surgery had significant impact on life span.
The researchers admitted that frailty or general health may have discouraged some of the controls from seeking the surgery. However, the study supports many previous reports that show a link between visual impairment and a shorter life.
Editor’s Note: Taking care of your eyes helps prevent visual impairment. Healthy eyes increase enjoyment and independence. Ageing does not automatically mean your eyes will fail. Cataract surgery is one of the safest and most commonly performed operations. Providing proper nutrients to the eyes helps head off trouble before it starts. We also have information about cataracts.
Study: “Correction of Visual Impairment by Cataract Surgery and Improved Survival in Older Persons” by Fong et. al. Ophthalmology Volume 120, Issue 9 , Pages 1720-1727, September 2013