A Clearer View

Latest treatment options and news about cataracts, dry eye syndrome and other eye care topics.

The Importance of Cataract Surgery for Patients with Dementia

by dwasylow 6 November 2015 14:02 PM

mom-with-dementia-and-daughter

As we age, systems of the body naturally degrade, from the sore knees of your 40’s to the diminished hearing of your 60’s. Vision is no different. By age 80, more than half of all Americans develop cataracts. When you add dementia to the mix, quality of life can be seriously impaired.

At least five million Americans suffer from age-related dementia, most of which also have cataracts. Often, these individuals and their families are reluctant to seek treatment for their vision impairment. They may think cataract surgery will be too involved, or simply write off the vision loss as part of growing older.

Research by Case Western University provides compelling evidence of the value of cataract surgery for patients with dementia. The study found that renewed vision dramatically improved quality of life for both the patient and caregivers.

In addition to improving visual acuity, patients demonstrated a decline in behavioral symptoms. Researchers observed that timely cataract surgery even slowed the rate of cognitive decline, reduced neuropsychiatric symptoms and lessened caregiver stress.

“These preliminary results indicate that improved vision can have a variety of benefits for people with dementia and their loved ones, both visual and non-visual,” says principal investigator Alan J. Lerner, MD.

Poor vision impairs an individual’s ability to effectively navigate the world around him or her, potentially leading to injury and often resulting in increased reliance on caregivers.

According to Maria Carrillo, PhD, vice president, medical and scientific relations for the Alzheimer's Association, “if a person with dementia falls because they can't see properly and has to be hospitalized because of a broken hip bone, they may never recover. In addition, vision loss is very socially isolating. I don't think people really understand that healthcare in general is a very important part of quality of life for people with dementia. This not only helps the patient, it also helps the family.”

If you or a loved suffers from dementia and cataracts, there’s hope. Contact Gainesville Eye Physicians today to discuss your cataract treatment options.

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