This eye surgery may reduce dementia risk

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In a new study from Kaiser Permanente Washington, researchers found cataracts affect most older adults at risk for dementia, and cataract surgery is associated with a lower risk of developing the disease.

They examined more than 5,000 participants older than 65 and found that people who underwent cataract surgery had a nearly 30% lower risk of developing dementia from any cause compared with those who did not.

This lowered risk persisted for at least a decade after surgery. Cataract surgery was also associated with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease dementia specifically.

The mechanisms by which cataract surgery and lessened dementia risk are associated were not determined in this study.

Researchers hypothesize that people may be getting higher quality sensory input after cataract surgery, which might have a beneficial effect in reducing the risk of dementia.

Another hypothesis is that after cataract surgery, people are getting more blue light.

Some special cells in the retina are associated with cognition and regulate sleep cycles, and these cells respond well to blue light. Cataracts specifically block blue light, and cataract surgery could reactivate those cells.

The study results highlight a strong case for further research on the eye-brain connection in dementia.

Previous studies have shown a strong link between other retinal diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration, and the development of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

People with macular degeneration or other retinal degenerative diseases are more likely to develop dementia.

In the current study, people undergoing vision-improving cataract surgery had a lower risk of developing dementia.

Further understanding the connection between the aging eye and brain may offer insights and potential therapies to slow or prevent age-related dementia.

If you care about dementia, please read studies about your walking speed may tell your risk of dementia, depression, and more and findings of these high blood pressure drugs may prevent dementia.

For more information about dementia prevention and treatment, please see recent studies about this common nutrient may protect your brain, preventing dementia and results showing that healthy blood vessels may be key to preventing Alzheimer’s disease.

The study is published in JAMA Internal Medicine. One author of the study is Dr. Cecilia S Lee.

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