WhatsNew2Day
Latest News And Breaking Headlines

Cataract surgery may reduce risk of developing dementia by nearly 30%, study shows

Cataract surgery may reduce risk of developing dementia by nearly 30%, study shows

  • People who have had cataract surgery 30% less likely to develop dementia, experts say
  • Research of more than 3,000 people over the age of 65 found that reduced risk lasts for at least ten years
  • Experts think removal increases blue light, which is linked to brain function



<!–

<!–

<!–<!–

<!–

<!–

<!–

Older people who undergo cataract surgery are 30 percent less likely to develop dementia, research suggests.

Scientists at the University of Washington came to the conclusion after following more than 3,000 people over the age of 65.

None of the participants, who were followed for nearly a decade, had the amnesia disorder when the study began.

The findings, published in the JAMA Internal Medicine, did not determine how the ordinary surgery reduced the risk of dementia. But the researchers argue it may be related to cataracts that keep key cells from receiving ‘blue light’.

Blue light can reactivate cells in the retina related to cognition and regulate sleep, the experts said.

Lead researcher Dr Cecilia Lee said: ‘This kind of evidence is as good as it gets in epidemiology.

“This is really exciting because no other medical intervention has shown such a strong association with reducing the risk of dementia in older individuals.”

The academics said the findings highlight the need for further research into how the connection between the eyes and the brain affects dementia.

Cataracts are cloudy areas on the lens of the eye, which usually develop as a result of aging.

More than 300,000 cataract surgeries are performed annually in England, while more than 2 million are performed in the US.

Meanwhile, it is estimated that more than 850,000 Britons and 6.2 million Americans suffer from dementia.

Cataracts are cloudy areas on the lens of the eye, which usually develop as a result of aging.  They usually get worse over time and surgery is the only way for patients to improve their vision (stock)

Cataracts are cloudy areas on the lens of the eye, which usually develop as a result of aging. They usually get worse over time and surgery is the only way for patients to improve their vision (stock)

WHAT ARE CATARS?

Cataracts are when the lens of your eye, a small transparent disc, develops cloudy patches.

Young people have lenses that usually resemble clear glass.

But in older people, lenses begin to freeze, such as bathroom glass, and begin to limit vision.

Cataracts usually affect adults as a result of aging.

In cataract surgery, the cloudy lens in the eye is replaced with an artificial lens.

The surgery takes about 45 minutes and it can take 2 to 6 weeks to fully recover from cataract surgery.

Benefits of surgery include seeing things sharply, looking into bright lights and not seeing so much glare and seeing the difference between colors.

But the risks of surgery, which occur in about one in 50 cases, include blurred vision, some vision loss, and a detached retina — when the thin layer at the back of your eye becomes detached.

Source: NHS

Researchers followed 3,038 volunteers who had been diagnosed with cataracts or glaucoma. The participants were on average 74 years old.

Nearly half of the volunteers (1,382) had surgery to remove cataracts, a 45-minute procedure that involves removing the cloudy lens in the eye and replacing it with an artificial one.

The researchers followed the participants for an average of eight years and found 853 cases of dementia.

The team found that those who had their cataracts removed were 29 percent less likely to be diagnosed with dementia compared to those who had not had the surgery, after controlling for other health and demographic factors.

The risk was lowest during the first five years after surgery, with those who opted for the surgery were 32 percent less likely to be diagnosed with dementia, compared with the five years after, when the risk was 24 percent lower.

The team said those who didn’t have cataract surgery may have been more socially isolated because of their visual impairments, leading to decreased brain stimulation, which could increase the risk of dementia.

Cataracts usually get worse over time and surgery is the only way for patients to improve their vision.

And visual impairment may cause patients to cut back on how much exercise they do, which is associated with cognitive decline, they said.

Or the procedure may lower the risk of dementia by letting in more blue light — which is linked to improved cognitive function — once the cataracts are removed.

dr. Lee said: ‘Some special cells in the retina are associated with cognition and regulate sleep cycles, and these cells respond well to blue light.

‘Causes specifically block blue light, and cataract surgery could reactivate those cells.’

But they said more studies are needed to confirm exactly how the procedure reduces dementia risk.

Advertisement

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More