Cataract surgery for patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia may help improve quality of life and slow the decline in memory, according to the results of a study presented on July 13, 2014, at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2014 in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The study aimed to determine the effects of cataract removal on visual function, cognitive measures, and quality of life in patients diagnosed with dementia. Patients were recruited from dementia and ophthalmology clinics and were evaluated at baseline and 6 months later or 6 months after receiving surgery.
Preliminary results from the ongoing study on 20 patients who received surgery and 8 patients who did not receive surgery showed that those who underwent the procedure had significantly improved vision, quality of life, and behavioral measures, as well as reduced decline in memory and cognitive functioning. Among the 20 patients who had immediate cataract surgery, Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores increased by 0.39 points on average after 6 months, while MMSE scores decreased by 2.31 points among those who declined or delayed the surgery. The results also showed that levels of perceived burden for caregivers of patients who received surgery also improved.