Cataracts are something that everyone develops as they get older. A cataract is a cloudiness of the natural lens of your eye. When this happens, your vision gets blurry. You also may have more difficulty driving at night or in the rain. You may see halos around lights and are more bothered by glare. Colors appear to be washed out. When your vision is no longer correctable to 20/20 with glasses or contact lenses anymore, it's probably time to start thinking about cataract surgery.
Well...a new study mentions that visual impairment has been associated with lower cognitive ability among older adults. And the study shows that improved vision after cataract surgery is associated with slower cognitive decline. Although the study doesn't identify the mechanism to explain the relationship of reduced brain function and cataracts, it's thought that more sensory input to the brain is better for cognitive function.
The difference is pretty significant. Cataract surgery can slow down cognitive decline as much as 50%! The same goes with hearing loss. Those who wearing hearing aids for hearing loss can reduce cognitive decline up to 75%!
As an optometrist, I diagnose and manage cataract patients, recommending cataract surgery when the time is right. Will this study influence me to recommend cataract surgery sooner than later? Maybe. What I can tell you is that the amount of people after cataract surgery who say "I wish I would have done this (cataract surgery) sooner" is very high.
So, if your vision is blurred or you have any of the other symptoms at the beginning of this blog post, please consider coming in to our office for an eye exam. Maybe you'll just need an update in your eyeglasses or contact lens prescription. But if you are having issues due to cataracts, I'll make you to get you the right referral for cataract surgery when you're ready...sooner than later, of course!