5 Health Benefits of Cataract Surgery

A cataract is a clouding of your eye’s lens. Cataract symptoms include blurry vision, glare, halos, and poor vision at night. Cataract in one or both eyes affects your vision and can interfere with your daily routine and sense of independence. However, surgical cataract treatment can almost always solve these problems. Here are ways it may help improve your life.

  • illustration of cataract
    1. Treat cataract symptoms and improve your vision.
    During cataract surgery, your doctor replaces your clouded natural lens with a clear artificial one. You won't feel or see this new lens. But, over 95% of those with healthy eyes who have this surgery experience better vision afterwards. Your eyesight may improve as early as one day after your operation. Objects may appear more crisp and clear. Colors may seem brighter. Your vision will continue to improve as your eye heals and your brain adjusts to your new lens.

  • Woman-reading-in-bed
    2. Boost your quality of life.
    With cataracts, your vision can be blurry. This makes it harder to do day-to-day tasks. It also can keep you from doing things you enjoy, like driving, knitting, playing cards, watching TV, or reading. Cataracts can also make it harder to work and be independent. All of this can affect your mood and your mental health. But, removing cataracts will help you get your eyesight back. This means you may be able to do many of the things you used to enjoy. A successful procedure can give you more freedom and boost your confidence.

  • Female Caucasian woman at eye doctor getting eye exam
    3. Protect your eye health.
    People with cataracts often develop other eye problems. Cataracts can cause eye inflammation. They also can increase pressure inside your eye. This can lead to glaucoma and other serious eye issues. Sometimes people with cataracts also have damaged retinas from diabetes. Cataracts might make it harder for your doctor to treat or prevent such eye problems. But, cataract surgery can prevent complications and protect your vision. 

  • smiling-woman-in-drivers-seat
    4. Keep you safer.
    When you see better, you're less likely to have accidents. For instance, with better vision your chances of falling decrease. Research also shows that removing cataracts leads to fewer broken hips. That's especially true for those with more dense cataracts. It's also safer to drive a car when you don't have cataracts. In fact, driving safety improves by 50% after cataract removal.

  • Senior man and woman sleeping
    5. Possibly improve some symptoms of mild Alzheimer’s disease.
    The research on this is early and limited. However, a small study suggested that cataract surgery may have some benefits for people with mild Alzheimer's disease. For instance, poor eyesight can dampen mood, and helping them see better may help. The researchers reported that being able to see more clearly may help people with early dementia better understand their surroundings. Also, sleep problems are common among people with dementia. The study suggested that cataract surgery may help people with mild Alzheimer’s disease sleep better. 

5 Health Benefits of Cataract Surgery | Reasons for Cataract Surgery
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  1. Facts About Cataract. National Institutes of Health. National Eye Institute. https://nei.nih.gov/health/cataract/cataract_facts
  2. When Should an Individual Have Cataract Surgery? American Foundation for the Blind. http://www.visionaware.org/info/your-eye-condition/cataracts/considering-cataract-surgery/125
  3. Cataract: Treatment and Prevention. National Institutes of Health. National Institutes of Health. http://nihseniorhealth.gov/cataract/treatmentandprevention/01.html
  4. Clinical Update: Cataract. New Data Focus on Safety, QOL, and Cost Benefits of Cataract Surgery. American Academy of Ophthalmology. http://www.aao.org/eyenet/article/new-data-focus-on-safety-qol-cost-benefits-of-cata?november-2012
  5. Cataract. The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness. http://www.iapb.org/vision-2020/what-is-avoidable-blindness/cataract
  6. Diabetic Retinopathy. American Optometric Association. http://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/eye-and-vision-problems/glossary-of-eye-and-vision-conditions/diabetic-retinopathy?sso=y
  7. Meuleners LB, Hendrie D, Lee AH, Ng JQ, Morlet N. The Effectiveness of Cataract Surgery in Reducing Motor Vehicle Crashes: A Whole Population Study Using Linked Data. Ophthalmic Epidemiol. 2012;19(1):23-8.
  8. Mood, Cognitive Ability and Sleep Patterns Improve in Alzheimer’s Patients After Cataract Surgery. American Academy of Ophthalmology. http://www.aao.org/newsroom/release/20111025.cfm
  9. Tseng VL, Yu F, Lum F, Coleman AL. Risk of Fractures Following Cataract Surgeries in Medicare Beneficiaries. JAMA, 2012;308(5):493-501.
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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2020 Nov 3
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