Cataract Surgery Could Help Women Live Longer
The Queen underwent cataract surgery recently, at age 92. A US study has found that this common surgical procedure could help women live longer.
The study found lower rates of death among women who had cataract surgery, but it is not yet known the reasons behind the link.
Common surgical procedure
Cataracts are when small cloudy patches develop on the lens of the eye. They are most commonly as a result of ageing, and can impact the person’s vision. Cataracts get worse over time, but surgery can help improve eyesight.
Cataract surgery is the most common surgical procedure carried out in the UK. It involves an eye surgeon replacing the cloudy lens with a clear plastic one.
The Queen recently underwent a cataract surgical procedure, and has been seen wearing sunglasses as she recovers.
It can take four to six weeks to recover from the procedure, although it is a very short, straight-forward operation, and most people go home from hospital the same day.
A recent study from the US has found that having this common procedure in associated with a lower risk of dying prematurely.
The study looked at data from the Women’s Health Initiative on women aged 65 and older who had been diagnosed with cataracts. There were over 74,000 women who fell into this category.
Of these, over 41,000 women had undergone cataract surgery.
Upon analysis of the outcomes for these women, the researchers found that having had cataract surgery was linked to a 60% lower risk of death from all causes. The reduced risk of death from specific causes such as cancer or lung conditions ranged from 37% to 69%.
The authors of the study state that although they found lower rates of death in people who had cataract surgery, it does not mean that having the procedure itself extends life. However, other research has found that people who have the procedure have a lower risk of falling and suffering broken bones, for example.
Other suggestions for the link made by the authors include that those women who had cataract surgery may have a higher socioeconomic status, which could mean they have access to better quality healthcare in general. Alternatively, it could be that the group of women who had surgery have healthier lifestyles.
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