Mr. Joseph Nair was a 62 years old retired accountant. Joseph had noticed little glows around the streetlights during his walks in the chilly winter nights. “Mr. Nair, age is catching up with your eyes,” explained his eye doctor. “You have started to develop cataract. Eventually you would need to have your eye lens replaced. But I leave the decision up to you. You can come get your cataract surgery done whenever you feel that your vision has started affecting your daily routine or is hampering your lifestyle.”
Slowly months went by, winter turned to spring and Joseph’s vision got so bad, it felt as if someone were holding a wax paper over his eyes. His wife sensed how his vision had slowed him down and coaxed him to get the cataract surgery done. But Joseph insisted it was good enough and that it wasn’t time yet. He remembered how his father too had waited until his cataracts got “ripe enough”.
Soon it was time for the pouring monsoons. Joseph was driving back from his golf course. Just then, the sun came out between the rear-view mirror and edge of his sun visor, creating such a sharp glare that he was blinded for a moment. Luckily, the street wasn’t too crowded and nothing untoward happened. But that glare was such a bolt out of the blue, that a wary Joseph sought an appointment with his cataract surgeon the very next day.
There are many people like Joseph who believe in postponing cataract surgery till the very last minute possible. After all, who is enthusiastic to get a surgery done? But what if it prolonged your life? Would that change your mind?
Australian researchers compared people with vision loss with those who had cataract and found that those who had cataract surgery are living longer than those visually impaired who did not undergo the surgery. This study called the Blue Mountains Eye Study, was published in the September 2013 issue of the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s journal. Researchers assessed 354 people between the years 1992 and 2007. They made follow up visits at intervals of 5 and 10 years after the baseline exam. Mortality risk was calculated for both the groups – people who underwent cataract surgery, and those who did not. When other risk factors like age, gender, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, smoking, other related diseases etc. were adjusted, it was found that those who had cataract surgery had a 40% lower mortality risk.
How can cataract surgery make you live longer? Researchers are not sure, but it is postulated that this could be due to the increased confidence of independence, optimism and better ability to adhere to prescription medicines. Dr. Jie Jin Wang, the lead researcher admits that one reason could be – some people with cataract, did not undergo surgery because of other health problems that deemed them unfit for surgery. These very health problems could also have contributed to their poorer survival as compared to the other group. They are addressing this very issue in their next study.
Are you also one of those people who have cataract operation in their to-do list, but are still sitting on the fence? This study might just give you another reason to take the plunge! We welcome you to Advanced Eye Hospital in Navi Mumbai where you can choose from a variety of eye lens options, the latest technologies and the best eye specialist in Mumbai for your cataract operation.
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