Could cataract surgery benefit the brain?
Research we monitor
Researchers say there may be a link between dementia risk and delaying cataract surgery (a procedure to remove and replace the cloudy lens of the eye). A study published online on December 6, 2021 by JAMA internal medicine found that people who had this vision correction surgery had a lower risk of developing dementia than those who had cataracts but did not have surgery. This was the case even after controlling for other risk factors.
The researchers used data from the Adult Changes in Thought (ACT) study, which recruits adults 65 and older who do not have dementia. ACT started in 1994 and follows participants over time to see who develops dementia. For this analysis, the researchers included participants in the ACT study who were diagnosed with cataracts when they still did not have dementia. The researchers also included a comparison group with another eye condition, glaucoma, which damages the optic nerve.
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of the last revision or update of all articles. Nothing on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your physician or other qualified clinician.