Cataracts and Falls

New research has revealed that older people suffered avoidable falls and injuries due to delays in cataract surgery. The pandemic caused a significant backlog in elective surgeries, including cataract procedures.

The Australian study highlights the link between cataracts and the risk of falls, and the benefits of having the surgery. In light of Falls Prevention Week this month, we shine a light on the importance of treating cataracts early.

Cataract surgery can reduce the risk of falls by up to 50%

The latest study, published within The Medical Journal of Australia, revealed that cataract surgery greatly reduces the risk of falls. When carried out on one eye, the risk of falls in the over 65’s decreased by 31%. After having surgery on both eyes, this further drops to 50%. Data was taken from eight different Australian public hospitals, between the years 2013 and 2016.

This research highlights the importance of providing older patients with the cataracts surgery they need.

Delays in surgery having a real impact on patients

It isn’t just the added risk of falls and injury that patients are having to deal with due to backlogs in surgery. Delays to cataract procedures can also lead to vision loss. According to a report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Eye Health and Visual Impairment (APPG) published by the RNIB, 22 patients each month are experiencing permanent and severe vision loss due to a delay in the surgery they need.

The delay is also affecting the mental health of patients, with many frustrated and worried about the risks. Cataracts worsen over time without treatment, which can lead to mobility issues and trouble carrying out daily activities. This in turn can lead to social isolation, as elderly patients don’t feel confident enough to leave their homes without assistance.

The impact these delays in surgery are having on patients is severe. Cataract surgery takes just 30 minutes in most cases, yet millions of patients are struggling to receive it in time.

What to expect from cataract surgery

Cataract surgery is a straightforward procedure, and it can greatly help to reduce the risk of falls and injury. The lens of the eye is removed and replaced with an intraocular lens.

The eye is numbed with either an injection around the eye, or with eye drops. Some patients may also choose to take a mild sedative to help them fully relax. You will be awake for the surgery, but you won’t be able to see what is happening to the eye.

Tiny incisions are made towards the edge of the cornea, before microscopic tools are used to break down and remove the affected lens. Finally, a news lens will be inserted, and the incision site will automatically seal back up.

While there are still long backlogs for many NHS cataracts patients, choosing to go private is one way to speed up the treatment you need. Book a consultation with Mr Zaid Shalchi today to learn more about cataract surgery and what to expect.