Many people know that cataracts can cause vision to cloud as they progress. But not as many people know that, in addition to the physical effects, cataracts can affect mental health as well, with links to depression in the older population.
What is a cataract?
More than 24.4 million people in America have cataracts, and more than 3 million cataract surgeries are performed each year. A cataract is when the lens of the eye becomes cloudy over time. While it can be such a mild cloudiness that vision isn’t affected, in many people it can obstruct their sight. In some cases cataracts can get so severe that people can’t see shapes or movement, just light and dark.
Aging is the most common cause of cataracts, but can also be caused by trauma, some medications, systemic diseases like diabetes, and prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light.
How do cataracts affect depression?
Studies have shown that people with untreated cataracts have a higher rate of depression than those who do not, even if they have a cataract in just one eye. Because people rely so much on their vision, the loss of their ability to see can make it difficult for them to enjoy activities they used to do and make them more reliant on others in their daily life. This loss of independence and activity can lead to depression.
Depression has been tied to other health concerns, too. It has been linked to notable weight gain and weight loss, insomnia, fatigue, and thoughts of suicide and death.
It is important to note that, while there is a correlation between cataract surgery and lower levels of depression, the surgery is not a cure for depression. There may be many other factors that also contribute to depression. Also, studies have not been conclusive as to whether people get depressed because they haven’t had cataract surgery, or haven’t had cataract surgery because they are depressed.
Still, cataract surgery is a fairly straightforward procedure to eliminate this visual cloudiness. CEENTA has more than 20 cataract surgeons who perform thousands of these procedures each year. They offer the latest in premium cataract lenses based on each patient’s unique needs, and will discuss all their options before surgery is scheduled.
“Good vision plays an important role in most people’s quality of life,” CEENTA Ophthalmologist Rachel Sabo, MD, said. “It is very rewarding to see how pleased people are after cataract surgery, when they regain clear vision.”
If your vision is cloudy, call CEENTA at 704-295-3000 and make an appointment with one of our cataract doctors. We’ll do our best to make your vision clear and your days happier.
This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your physician.