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Link between cataract surgery and longer lives of older women found

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Staff Writer |
cataract surgery
Surgery   A new study of more than 74,000 U.S. women

Women who undergo cataract surgery may get an unexpected dividend: longer life.

That's the finding from a new study of more than 74,000 U.S. women aged 65 or older, including nearly 42,000 who'd had the eye procedure.

According to the study, having had cataract surgery was associated with a 60 percent reduced risk of early death from all causes, and a 37 to 69 percent reduced risk of death due to accidents, lung and heart diseases, cancer, infectious diseases and neurological disorders.

The study couldn't prove cause-and-effect - maybe women who opt for cataract surgery simply take better care of themselves, although the researchers did factor in lifestyle issues such as obesity and exercise.

And prior research has suggested that a lower risk of premature death after cataract surgery may be due to improvements in overall health and in day-to-day functioning, the study authors said.

The investigators also said it's not clear if the same finding would apply to men.

Further study looking at how cataract surgery affects chronic illness or death from specific causes might help clarify "the benefits of cataract surgery beyond vision improvement," said the team led by Dr. Anne Coleman, of the University of California, Los Angeles.

Two experts in eye health agreed that the significance of the new findings isn't totally clear.


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