Cataract Surgery Tied to Drop in Cognitive Decline in Seniors

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Decline in episodic memory scores seen with older age slower after vs before cataract surgery.
Decline in episodic memory scores seen with older age slower after vs before cataract surgery.

HealthDay News — Cataract surgery is associated with a reduction in the rate of cognitive decline among older adults, according to a study published online Oct. 11 in PLOS ONE.

Asri Maharani, MD, PhD, from the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, and colleagues used data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing Wave 1 (2002/2003) through Wave 7 (2014/2015) to examine trajectories of cognitive decline before and after cataract surgery. The treatment group was composed of 2,068 individuals who underwent cataract surgery between Wave 2 and Wave 6 and 3,636 propensity score-matched individuals with no cataract disease who were included as the control group.

The researchers found that after controlling for potential covariates, cataract surgery correlated positively with episodic memory scores (β = 4.23). With older age, there was a decline in episodic memory scores; the decline was slower after cataract surgery (β = −0.05) vs before cataract surgery (β = −0.1). Before the intervention, episodic memory declined more slowly among those in the control group (β = −0.08) vs those in the intervention group (β = −0. 1), while after the intervention, the declines in episodic memory scores were similar (both groups β = −0.05).

"Our finding supports the cascade hypothesis, according to which cataract surgery may allow better visual input and thus result in a slower rate of cognitive decline by means of several potential mechanisms," the authors write.

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