Cataract Surgery Not Linked to Increased Age-Related Macular Degeneration

cataract surgery lens replacementA large study has found no association between prior cataracts surgery and the development of Age-Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD).1 This study supports the long-term safety and low possibility of side-effects from replacing a cataract-damaged lens with an artificial lens.

Both cataracts and ARMD are eye diseases associated with ageing. By the age of 75, 50% of Americans have cataracts.2 It affects 24+ million Americans over age 39. Advanced Age-Related Macular Degeneration affects 1-in-10 eighty-year-olds; 9+ million Americans age 50 and up have the disease in early or late stages.

A cataract forms on the lens of the eye, blurring vision, causing glare and haze, and reducing color perception. Cataracts get worse over time, eventually leading to legal blindness if untreated. Depth perception is hampered, increasing the risk of falls that can devastate a senior’s health. Cataract surgery is the standard treatment. Some patients who wish to delay cataract surgery can try targeted nutrition and eye drops for cataracts.

Unlike cataracts, there is no quick fix for macular degeneration. The tiny, yellowish macula is responsible for central vision. If the cells break down, it becomes difficult to write, read, drive, recognize faces, and prepare food. A senior with ARMD becomes increasingly dependent on others for help with day-to-day activities. With limited treatment options, ARMD patients sometimes turn to nutrition and lifestyle changes to slow the disease’s progression.

The Korean study looked at nearly 18,000 patients age 40 and up. After accounting for age and other factors, the researchers found no difference in ARMD between patients who had cataract surgery and those who did not.

Editor’s Note: Cataract surgery can increase the risk of retinal bleeding and retinal detachment for those with a history of these issues. It can also increase the risk of onset of eye floaters.

nutrients Up Next: Learn more about Lens Support and Macular Support

  1. Association between Previous Cataract Surgery and Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Taylor & Francis. Rim, Tyler Hyungtaek; Lee, Christopher Seungkyu; Chul Lee, Sung; Kim, Sangah; Kim, Sung Soo; Society, Epidemiologic Survey Committee of the Korean Ophthalmological Retrieved: 16 24, May 05, 2016 (GMT)