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News: Study finds cataract surgery may reduce dementia risk

A recent study conducted at the University of Washington School of Medicine may have found a link between cataract surgery and lowered dementia risk in older adults.

The study proposes an interesting link between heightened sensory input and increased exposure to blue light following the surgery as potential explanations for lowered dementia risk, including lowered Alzheimer’s risk. The longitudinal cohort study analyzed the data from an ongoing “Adult Changes in Thought” study, which involves more than 3000 participants.

Each of the participants involved in the analysis and existing cataracts or glaucoma diagnosis. The results showed a significant relationship between cataract extraction and decreased risk of dementia when compared with participants without the surgery.

Similar results were gathered from marginal structural models even after controlling for other possible confounding variables.

These conclusions are quite significant and may show a promising path forward in developing dementia prevention and treatment options. Dementia impacts more than 50 million people worldwide, with no effective treatment options currently available.

As sensory impairments are known to be related to aging and dementia, understanding further the impact of impairments on dementia risk is vital. In the present study, visual impairments are associated with increased dementia risk (a known occurrence.) The lower risk for dementia development may be due to increased quantity and quality of light exposure, as blue light has been associated with cognitive function, circadian rhythm.

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