Cataract patient who is at risk of dementia

Dementia has the ability to rob patients of their routines through memory loss. Much worse, it can make precious memories feel blurry or even nonexistent. In recent years, research has drawn connections between dementia and cataracts. Is there a link between the two conditions - and could cataract surgery have an impact on dementia?

What is dementia?

While not a single disease, dementia refers to a collection of symptoms relating to worsening memory and cognition. This could be shown through memory loss, forgetfulness, poor deductive reasoning, and reduced socialization. Some of the most common causes of dementia include Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and severe head trauma.

How are eyesight and memory related?

Your eyesight is extremely vital for your cognitive functions. Due to most activities and day-to-day actions being visual in nature, reduced vision could lower mental stimulation that comes from performing tasks like cleaning, driving, or reading. Based on this premise, conditions like cataracts (or other eye conditions like diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, etc.) that negatively affect eyesight could also impair cognitive abilities and recalling information.

Could cataract surgery reduce dementia?

The University of Washington recently shared research regarding cataract surgery and dementia. Their research suggests by removing cataracts to clear up cloudy vision, patients can resume their normal activities and continue to be visually and mentally stimulated – thus lessening dementia risk. The takeaway from this is that if patients can have their vision restored, the chances of developing dementia may lower in the long run. Dr. Veena Rao, a CEENTA cataract surgeon at our Matthews and Monroe offices, provided her take on the research. “"The results of this recent research help those of us with family and friends with dementia think of vision in a new light. If we now feel improved vision can help keep people think sharply and perhaps reduce dementia risk, cataract surgery may gain importance in people dealing with dementia."

Although this is a single study and these results would need to be replicated in additional studies, the data is promising.

Cloudy vision from cataracts could affect your ability to learn and remember the important things in your life. If you’re looking to clear up your vision from cataracts, CEENTA’s cataract surgeons can help. Our surgeons are board-certified specialists in their field and span across nearly twenty offices in the Carolinas. Schedule with Dr. Rao in Matthews or Monroe today for your next cataract appointment. 

This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. New patients can make appointments online with our eye doctors in North and South Carolina. Current patients can also make appointments through myCEENTAchart with physicians they have already seen.


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