AUG 17, 2016
Researchers evaluated the association between cataract surgery and mortality in a 5% random sample of U.S. Medicare beneficiaries. Overall, those who had cataract surgery lived longer.
Data was collected over a 10-year period from a cohort of more than 1.5 million patients. After adjustment for demographics, systemic comorbidities and ocular comorbidities, patients from the surgery group had a nearly 30% reduced adjusted hazard of mortality compared with those who did not have cataract surgery.
The association held even after excluding patients with Charleston comorbidity index (CCI) scores of 5 or above, suggesting that the results are not simply reflections of differences in systemic health between the those who do or do not have surgery. The association was strongest in women, in 80 to 84 year olds, and in those living in Western states.
The authors hypothesize that cataract surgery improves a patient’s ability to care for themselves and remain physically and socially active, thus prolonging their life.
Previous research on incidence of mortality and cataract surgery utilized either small cohorts or compared patients without cataract. This retrospective study was the first to draw from a large, diverse cohort of cataract-only patients, allowing the researchers to exclude confounded associations arising from differences between individuals with or without cataracts.