Can a Common Surgery Reduce the Risk of Dementia?

Gold Leaf Estate Planning, LLC

POSTED ON: February 11, 2022
Risk of Dementia
A common surgery that many older Americans need is strongly linked with a reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease.

There’s new evidence that shows that having cataract surgery can lower your risk of dementia. Money Talks News’ recent article entitled “This Surgery May Reduce the Risk of Dementia by 30%” reports that patients who have this type of procedure lower their risk of dementia by 30%. That is according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine. The benefit lasted for at least 10 years and was specifically linked to a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers from the University of Washington School of Medicine conducted an observational study at Kaiser Permanente Washington.

They originally included more than 5,000 participants age 65+ and then followed up with more than 3,000 of the subjects.

They discovered that among those diagnosed with a cataract or glaucoma who originally didn’t have dementia, participants who underwent cataract surgery in either eye were about 30% less likely to develop any form of dementia for at least a decade following the procedure.

In a press release, lead researcher Dr. Cecilia Lee, associate professor and Klorfine Family Endowed Chair in ophthalmology at the University of Washington School of Medicine, says:

“This kind of evidence is as good as it gets in epidemiology. This is really exciting because no other medical intervention has shown such a strong association with lessening dementia risk in older individuals.”

While the researchers didn’t discover why cataract surgery is linked to reduced dementia risk, they think that those who have the surgery may receive higher quality sensory input after it, which may in turn, help lower the risk of dementia.

Dr. Lee offered another hypothesis for why cataract surgery is linked with reduced dementia diagnosis, which is that people who have cataract surgery are able to get more blue light.

In the press release, she remarked:

“Some special cells in the retina are associated with cognition and regulate sleep cycles, and these cells respond well to blue light. Cataracts specifically block blue light, and cataract surgery could reactivate those cells.”

Reference: Money Talks News (Jan. 17, 2022) “This Surgery May Reduce the Risk of Dementia by 30%”