HealthDay News — Along with improving vision, cataract surgery may slow mental decline in people with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia, a new study suggests. The report was scheduled for presentation at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, held from July 12 to 17 in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The study included 20 dementia patients who had cataract surgery and a control group of eight patients who did not have the procedure.
Six months after the surgery, the patients in the surgery group had significantly improved vision and quality of life, slower decline in memory and thinking, and greater improvements in behavior than those in the control group, the researchers found. Improved quality of life was also reported by caregivers of the patients who had cataract surgery.
“Our findings need to be verified in a larger study, but they suggest the need to aggressively address dementia comorbidities such as vision-impairing cataracts, while balancing safety and medical risks,” Alan Lerner, MD, of the Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, said in an association news release. “If the results hold up, it will significantly affect how we treat cataracts in individuals with dementia. Other interventions to offset sensory loss — including vision and hearing — may help improve quality of life for people with dementia and their caregivers,” he added.