In a new study, researchers found that undergoing cataract removal was linked to a lower risk of developing dementia among older adults.
The study reveals that the improvement in the quality of life for the affected individual and family is likely considerable given the substantial association and its lasting effect beyond 10 years.
Dementia affects nearly 50 million people worldwide. With no cure currently, efforts to reduce the risk or delay dementia onset are increasingly important.
Several studies suggest sensory loss may be a potentially modifiable risk factor for dementia later in life.
The prevalence of hearing (1 out of 3) and vision impairment (1 out of 5) in adults age 70 or older in the United States is high.
Because sensory impairment and dementia are both strongly associated with aging, more knowledge about the association may have important implications for adults as they age.
In the current study, the team examined the data from a subset of participants from the Adult Changes in Thought (ACT) study.
Participants were 65 years or older, were dementia-free at the start of the study, and were diagnosed with cataracts before the onset of dementia.
Of the 3,038 participants, 59% were women, 41% were men and 91% were self-reported white race.
Data used in the analyses were collected from 1994 through September 2018.
They found that participants who underwent cataract-removal surgery had nearly 30% lower risk of developing dementia compared with participants without surgery, even after controlling for numerous additional demographic and health risks.
In comparison, glaucoma surgery, which doesn’t restore vision, did not have a significant association with dementia risk.
The findings suggest that participants who underwent cataract-removal surgery had a lower risk of developing dementia compared with participants without surgery.
However, additional studies are needed to determine how cataract removal impacts dementia risk.
For more information about dementia risk, please see recent studies about common liver drug that may treat dementia effectively, and results showing that healthy lifestyle can reduce dementia even if you have a family history of the disease.
The study was conducted by Lee CS, et al., and published in JAMA Internal Medicine.