Top 3 Latest News & Stories about Cataract Surgery & Cataracts

Most of us after the age of 50 likely to hear that common thing from our eye doctor who’s saying “we have cataracts”. Being one of the most common eye disorders, cataract is the clouding of the natural lens of the eye. If left untreated, cataracts may adversely affect the vision that cannot be corrected with a contact lens or eyeglasses and may cause vision loss. Apart from the harmful effects of cataracts on our vision, the cataract surgery is the safest and effective treatment for cataracts that not only restore the lost vision but also reduce the dependency on eyeglasses. Cataract surgery is the most effective surgical procedure that is performed today. It involves removing the clouded lens of the eye and placing an intraocular lens (IOL).

Nowadays, advancements are being made in cataract surgery while different studies and researches are continuously performed by the healthcare professionals to dig out different aspects related to cataract surgery benefits and cataracts treatment.

Here, we highlight some of the latest advancements, studies, and researches about cataract surgery and cataracts that are made in recent years, from 2016 to 2018:

Women are more likely to have cataracts than men, worldwide

Spring 2018 – In China, researchers have checked and analyzed the data from 1990 to 2015 and found that women have higher incidences of cataracts than men. In 2015, the disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) rate of cataracts was 67.0 in women and 52.3 in men. The increased rate of cataracts in women is higher than men although both genders have the same age and this difference between rates of cataract increased with the age.

The reason for this difference is not known yet, but another research has suggested that the reduced levels of estrogen may be a factor for increased occurrences of cataracts in those women who are going through menopause.

Some other studies have found that there is a greater burden of cataracts on women as compared to men. The higher cataracts incidence is one of the factors while there may be various other reasons.

  1. women tend to live with a lower socioeconomic status;
  2. women with lower financial status are unable to afford the higher costs of cataract surgery and due to unavailability of cataract surgery in local, far-flung areas pose a problem for these women as they couldn’t afford traveling and treatment funds;
  3. due to low literacy rate among women than men, they are unaware of the cataract surgery and the areas where this treatment is available.

In order to reduce the difference of cataract rates between men and women, dramatic changes need to be done in the healthcare delivery systems all around the world especially in underdeveloped areas.

Cataract Surgery Procedure

Older women underwent cataract surgery have lower risk of death

October 2017 – A large healthcare study, called Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) is the nationwide study conducted in the United States of postmenopausal women between the ages of 50 to 79 years. Researchers have analyzed the data of this study and report their findings in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology. According to their findings, those older women who have cataracts and undergone cataract surgery had a lower risk of death due to any cause or specific causes.

The senior study author, Anne L. Coleman (professor of ophthalmology at the University of California, LA) and her team explains that individuals with cataracts who underwent cataract surgery also have a lower risk of premature death.

In order to study the link between cataract surgery and the rates of cause-specific deaths, the team of researchers decided to choose the participants in the WHI because it contains such healthcare data that is not available in other large healthcare databases of those patients with cataract surgery across the USA.

Researchers have selected the data about those older women of 65 or above who took part as the WHI participants and diagnosed with cataracts. The WHI data covered the period from 1993 to 2015. According to the WHI data that the researchers found, 74,044 women with 65 years and above or aged 71 on an average had been diagnosed with cataracts. Among these women, around 41,735 women had undergone cataract surgery.

When the team analyzed this data, they found that cataract surgery is linked with 60% lower risk of deaths from all causes. Secondly, they found that cataract surgery is linked with 37% to 69% reduced risk of deaths from specific causes that include pulmonary, vascular, neurologic, infectious or accidental diseases.

As the study is limited to women so the findings might not be true for men.

Some other explanations that researchers pointed out include:

  • The reduced risk of deaths after cataract surgery doesn’t prove the point that cataract surgery can extend the lifespan.
  • Further research needs to be made to investigate the relationship of the cataract surgery, the systemic disease, and the disease-related mortality.
  • The research team also mentioned some other studies that gave the explanations of the link between cataract surgery and lower death risk. According to one study, patients undergone cataract surgery has a lower risk of fall and fracture. According to another study, there are high scores of standardized cognitive assessment in older patients after having cataract surgery.

According to the results of the research team, the patients undergone cataract surgery had a higher socioeconomic status that means they were receiving better health care which affects the risk of premature death. Finally, they also noticed that there may be a possibility that the cataract surgery group participants may live a healthier lifestyle and so suggested:

Incorporating additional lifestyle factors with other variables such as WHI healthy diet score would hold importance and interest for the future studies

Eye With Cataract

Eating foods high in vitamin C reduces risk of age-related cataracts

July 2016 – In England, according to the findings of the researchers, development of nuclear cataracts (it is the type of cataract that is related to aging) may be considerably reduced if a patient eats diet rich in vitamin C. The researchers have drawn these findings from a twin study, named Genetic and Dietary Factors Influencing the Progression of Nuclear Cataract that was published in the journal of American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO).  

American Optometric Association mentions that vitamin C plays a supportive role in maintaining the health of the blood vessels inside our eyes and helps to slow down the progression of age-related macular degeneration.

For the study, the researchers wanted to perform the assessment that whether vitamin C would have the same impact on the development of nuclear cataracts which had been shown on age-related macular degeneration. They also wanted to look at the impact of vitamin C and genetic determinants that which of these have a greater impact on the development of the disease.

In order to perform the assessment, the researchers have utilized the TwinsUK database. This database has 12,000 registered twins including both identical and non-identical and ranges from 16-100 years of age. The information of these twins that database contains is based on their clinical, physiological, lifestyle and behavioral factors and this information is collected through a self-administered survey completed by these participants once or twice a year.

Among the registered twins, the data of 2,054 white female twins met the criteria of researchers’ analysis. This data of the study population included

  • baseline nuclear cataract data,
  • food frequency questionnaire that is used to track the intake of vitamin C and other micronutrients such as vitamins A, B, D, E, zinc, copper, and magnesium,
  • follow up cataract data that is available for 324 of these twins

The analysis has been made about the relationship of the nuclear cataract change and the vitamin C in the study population. After analyzing, the key findings of the researchers included:

  1. The intake of dietary vitamin C protected both the nuclear cataract at the baseline and the nuclear cataract during progression within the study population,
  2. The dietary intake of an individual has a greater impact on the nuclear cataract progression as compared to his/her genetic factors (65% dietary factors vs. 35% genetic factors).

The senior author of the study, Dr. Christopher Hammond (professor of ophthalmology at King’s College London) stated that the most important finding was that the intake of vitamin C from food protects the patient against the progression of cataracts. It is not possible to completely avoid developing cataracts, but we can prevent their incidence and slow down them from significant worsening by eating vitamin C rich diet.

This is the first study that showed the greater impact of patient’s dietary vitamin C intake than his/her genetics on the development of nuclear cataracts.


For more news, stories, and advancements in cataracts or cataract surgery keep visiting our eye healthcare blog.

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