A cataract is the clouding of the lens of the eye. Cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss in individuals over the age of 55. About one in six Americans over the age of 40 has a cataract, and over half of all Americans will have a cataract by the age of 70. Unlike other degenerative eye diseases like glaucoma and macular degeneration, which can cause permanent eye damage, cataracts can be removed, completely restoring vision.
During cataract surgery, your surgeon will replace the clouded lens with a new, artificial lens called an intraocular lens. Cataract surgery is one of the most common and successful surgeries performed in the United States, and it has restored vision to hundreds of thousands of Americans.
Cataract surgery actually offers many more advantages than just clearer vision. Here are three distinct benefits that cataract surgery offers:
- Cataract surgery improves your quality of life. Because cataracts develop slowly, it may take a while to notice that it is getting more difficult to read or drive at night. You may just gradually stop doing the activities you enjoy without knowing why. Having cataracts may even contribute to depression or anxiety. When you have your cataracts removed, you can expect to do many of your favorite activities again. A 2013 study found that quality of life increased by 36 percent after cataract surgery.
- Cataract surgery can decrease the risk of falls and fractures. Loss of vision is one of the most common reasons for falling. A fall can be dangerous and even fatal for an older person. A study in 2012 evaluated Medicare patients over the age of 65 who were diagnosed with cataracts. Patients who had cataract surgery had a 16 percent decrease in the risk of hip fracture during the next year. If the patients had severe cataracts, the risk of hip fracture decreased by 23 percent.
- Cataract surgery may help you live longer. A long-term study in 2013 connected cataract surgery with longer survival for older individuals. Those who had cataract surgery had a 40 percent reduction in mortality risk compared to those who did not have cataract surgery (Source: MSN).
Cataract surgery could help restore much more than your eyesight. Stay current with your comprehensive eye exams and listen to the advice of your doctor regarding cataract surgery. A simple outpatient procedure could significantly improve many aspects of your life!