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Cataract surgery may add years to your life

September 9, 2013

Cataracts are one of the most frequently reported visual impairments among the senior living community. In fact, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, an estimated half of Americans 80 and older have cataracts. However, surgery is a common and effective treatment, and new research suggests that it may not only improve your eyesight, but could also extend your life. 

Published in the journal Ophthalmology, the results come from an analysis of the Blue Mountains Eye Study, which examined eye problems in the Australian population. After accounting for factors such as sex, high blood pressure and heart disease, researchers still determined there was a link between those who had the surgery and a lower mortality risk. The findings echo previous research that connected better eyesight with increased longevity. 

"Our finding complements the previously documented associations between visual impairment and increased mortality among older persons," said lead researcher Dr. Jie Jin Wang. "It suggests to ophthalmologists that correcting cataract patients' visual impairment in their daily practice results in improved outcomes beyond that of the eye and vision, and has important impacts on general health."

Although researches are unsure why the link exists, it could have to do with the fact that better eyesight often leads to better emotional well-being and optimism as well as a reduced risk of falls.