Cataract Surgery May Reduce Auto Crashes

CHICAGO, Oct. 23 (UPI) — Cataract surgery improves vision for older people with a corresponding reduction in car crashes, researchers in Australia say.

Dr. Jonathon Ng at the Curtin University in Bentley, Australia, and the Eye & Vision Epidemiology Research Group and colleagues studied accident rates for Western Australian residents before and after cataract surgery on the first eye.

The study involved 27,827 patients — age 60 and older — who had a cataract removed from one eye from 1997 to 2006. Patient records were linked to the Western Australian Road Injury Database to identify those involved in a motor vehicle crash 12 months prior to and 12 months following cataract surgery dates.

The majority involved in crashes were men ages 70-79 who lived in metropolitan areas.

“We found cataract surgery reduced the frequency of all crashes by 12.6 percent after accounting for other potential confounders and the cost savings from this reduction amounted to about $4.3 million,” Ng, the study leader, said. “Each operation saved about $150 in crash costs. By including all crashes rather than just fatal and hospitalization crashes, all possible benefits of cataract surgery were taken into account.”

The findings were presented at the American Academy of Ophthalmology — Middle East-Africa Council of Ophthalmology Joint Meeting.

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