Cataract patients with mild Alzheimer’s may reap benefits stretching way further than just restored vision after cataract surgery, a French study has recently found. Researchers at Tenon Hospital in Paris, found that Alzheimer’s patients who had undergone cataract surgery reported an improvement in cognitive ability, mood, sleep patterns and other behaviours.
The study was the very first of its kind. 38 patients with an average age of 85, participated in Dr Girard’s study. They were they diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or just over 85 – if they were just over 85, they probably all had some form of dementia, although not necessarily Alzheimer’s – think we need to be clear what exactly the group had. All of them had a cataract in a least one eye, and each participant was treated using standard cataract surgery and the i implantation of an IOL (an artificial intraocular lens),
The next phase of the research involved a neuropsychologist examining changes in each patient’s brain. What they found was that cognitive status (the ability to coherently understand and respond to one’s surroundings) had improved in 1 out of 4 patients. Depression had also been found to be relieved in many of them, and there was also a noticeable improvement in their sleep patterns. Previous studies have shown that the removal of cataracts helps to restore levels of the sleep-regulating hormone called melatonin.
While the benefits of cataract surgery are widely known, this study proves the highly empirical, yet unpredictable nature of medical science. These ground breaking results have opened up a significant gateway to help improve the quality of life for Alzheimer’s patients and their families.