Examining cataract-dementia links



February 25, 2022 - 5:37 PM

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 78-year-old male in fairly good health. I recently read an excerpt from a recent study on the link between cataracts and dementia. According to the study, people with cataracts who underwent lens replacement surgery were also found to have significantly improved their chances of staving off dementia. The report suggested this was a result of “higher quality sensory input” to the brain. 

My problem is that even though I had my cataract evaluation with my ophthalmologist in December, the soonest I will be able to have surgery on my right eye is the middle of May. First of all, I was wondering what your thoughts are concerning the validity of the study. Second, assuming the study is valid, should I be concerned with how the five-month delay might adversely affect my mental health? — J.T.M.

ANSWER: I think the study was well done, and supports similar research, including analogous studies looking at hearing aids in people with impaired hearing. Our sight and hearing are critical inputs to our brain, and impairments to these put aging brains at risk.

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