Cataract surgery may lengthen life expectancy

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Cataract surgery is the most commonly performed major surgery in the United States. This 10-minute, painless procedure is highly effective with success rates over 99 percent, according to staff at the Coastal Jersey Eye Center.

Along with the obvious improvement in the quality of life that comes with good vision, recent studies show that cataract surgery can dramatically increase lifespan.

One study followed 354 Australian participants over the age of 49 for 10 years. After adjusting for health factors, such as smoking, angina, cancer and stroke, the researchers found a 40 percent lower mortality rate in individuals who had cataract surgery. Other studies have shown similar results.

The relationship between cataract surgery and longer life is not clearly understood. Possible factors include better physical and emotional wellbeing after surgery, greater success living independently, fewer serious injuries from falls and a greater ability to comply with prescription medications.

Another risk factor is the relationship between poor vision and hip fractures. The likelihood of hip fracture is significantly lower in those individuals having cataract surgery compared to those who do not. This is due to the higher risk of falls in patients with impaired vision. It is a well-known fact that mortality rates increase after hip fractures.

The most common symptoms of cataracts include difficulty driving, especially at night, trouble reading and glare and haloes around lights.

Dr. Stephen H. Uretsky of the Coastal Jersey Eye Center is a board-certified ophthalmologist specializing in a wide range of eye problems including the treatment of cataracts, glaucoma and other eye conditions, the latest surgical and laser procedures and prescribing glasses and contact lenses.

The Coastal Jersey Eye Center has offices in Linwood and Cape May Court House. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 609-927-3373 in Linwood, 609-465-7926 in Cape May Court House or see .

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