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Cataract Surgery May Cut Risk of Hip Fracture
Date:7/31/2012

By Denise Mann
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, July 31 (HealthDay News) -- Cataract surgery may help some senior citizens reduce their risk of fall-related hip fractures, a new study suggests.

A cataract is a clouding of the eye's lens; symptoms can include blurry vision, glare and poor night vision. As a result, people with cataracts may be more prone to falls.

In the new study, individuals aged 65 or older who had cataract surgery were less likely to sustain a hip fracture within a year of the procedure when compared with their peers who did not have the surgery. Researchers analyzed Medicare claims data, but they did not have access to information on falls.

Their findings appear in the Aug. 1 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Reduction in risk for hip fractures may help tip the scale in favor of cataract surgery, said study author Dr. Anne Coleman, professor of ophthalmology at the Jules Stein Eye Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles.

"Hip fracture is associated with decreased quality of life and increased risk of dying," Coleman said. "You are never too old or too ill to consider cataract surgery to improve vision [and] quality of life and decrease your risk of hip fracture."

During cataract surgery, the lens of the eye is removed and replaced with an artificial one.

"The risks are there, but they are very low," Coleman said. They may include inflammation, infection, bleeding and swelling. After surgery, patients "get to enjoy more of the visual world in terms of colors and contrasts, and they can recognize their friends."

The study included a 5 percent random sample of Medicare beneficiaries from 2002 to 2009 who had cataracts. Of the more than 1.1 million patients with cataracts, 36.9 percent had surgery during the study period.

Overall, 1.3 percent of this population sustained a hip fracture. Those who had cataract surgery w
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