Study finds Reduced Risks of Cataract Surgery

6:20 PM

No one preparing to undergo surgery is entirely without apprehension, and for patients that are diagnosed with cataracts the decision to have them removed is sometimes a difficult choice.  A new study published in the June issue of Ophthalmology, however, delivers wonderful news concerning the safety of cataract surgery.  What was once an intimidating surgical procedure is now one of the most commonly performed surgeries in America (over 1.5 million are performed each year according to Eye Health Services!).  Due to the pairing of technological advancements and extensive training by ophthalmologists, there has been no safer time to explore cataract removal if your vision has been impaired.

The study performed in conjunction with the University of Michigan and Duke University followed Medicare-covered cataract extractions from 1994 to 2006, documenting the number of severe complications that arose from surgery.  These complications included endophthalmitis (a severe infection), suprachoroidal hemorrhage, and retinal detachment.  Compared to earlier years in the study, the risk of adverse complications in 2005 to 2006 reduced by 20%!  The study did find that the incidence of complications was much greater for people with underlying risk factors, such as diabetics with proliferative retinopathy.  Your eye doctor will be able to discuss any potential high risk factors with you, as well as if your cataracts are ready for surgery by performing a full dilated eye exam.

The amount of advancements that cataract surgery has undergone is truly remarkable.  In my next few posts I plan to detail what to expect if you or a loved one are facing the decision of having their cataracts removed.  Undergoing surgery is not an easy decision, but hopefully this information will help facilitate your decision making process! 
Through this patient's pupil you can see the cloudy center of a cataract that can greatly reduce vision.  Surgery can remove the cataract and restore clear sight.  Picture courtesy sightsurgeryinternational

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