Raleigh, N.C. — Cataract surgery has long been used to improve the vision of older Americans, but according to research in the Journal of American Medicine, its benefits are now helping older people avoid painful hip fractures many suffer when they fall.
Researchers at the Jules Stein Eye Institute and UCLA looked at more than a million medicare beneficiaries diagnosed with cataracts over a seven-year period. Almost 39 percent had cataract surgery.
Those who had the surgery also had lower rates of his fractures in the following year.
Dr. Anne Coleman said the research proves how important proper eye health can be for older people as they try to navigate stair or other tough terrain.
"This can cause problems with your balance and it also can cause problems with your depth perception," she said. "All of these things increase your risk of falling and then going on to have a hip fracture."
Researchers said cataract surgery was protective for people and 75 older, with people between 80 and 84 seeing the most benefit.