Older adults with cataracts have twice the risk of falling after surgery on their first eye and prior to surgery on the second eye, according to a new study.
The study, published in the journal Age and Aging, adds more fuel to the debate over the safety of corrective eye surgery for seniors. The results indicate that having the surgery puts patients at risk of falling more often and potentially suffering serious injuries from those falls. The topic remains an important one, considering the demand for cataract surgery is constantly on the rise. In Australia, where the study was conducted, cataract surgeries have tripled over the past 20 years Reuters reported.
For the study, lead researcher Lynn Meuleners, of Curtin University, and her team in Perth examined detailed electronic health records from Western Australia’s hospitals and its death registry. They found that nearly 28,400 older adults in the region had cataract surgery on both eyes between 2001 and 2008. Of the 28.400 patients, 1,094 of them suffered a fall serious enough to result in a hospital visit during that period.
Compared to the two-year period before any cataract surgery, the subjects’ likelihood of falling doubled between procedures, Reuters reported. In the two years after surgery on their second eye, people’s fall risk was 34 percent higher than before their first surgery, Reuters reported. The risk of falling also increased with age. Researchers noted that the highest percentage of people who fell were single women over the age of 80 who lived in cities.