When it comes to cataracts and heart disease, a dangerous connection has been found by a recent study. Learn about the results below.
According to new research, cataracts (a common eye disorder) may lead to a higher risk of death from heart disease. While there may be an association, the researchers note that the study wasn’t designed to prove cause and effect.
“A variety of medical conditions like [hypertension], diabetes or smoking have been associated with increased cataracts,” says Dr. Matthew Gorski. “These diseases are also associated with vascular mortality, which may explain the relationship.” Gorski is an ophthalmologist at Northwell Health in Great Neck, N.Y., and believes cataracts may indicate underlying health issues.
“Patients should use the results… as a reminder of the importance of having regular eye exams,” says Gorski. “[This is] especially as you get older or if you have certain medical conditions.” Gorski was not part of the new study.
Dr. Mingguang He of the Centre for Eye Research Australia at the University of Melbourne led the study. His research team examined data from nearly 15,000 Americans ages 40 and older, with more than 9.6% having undergone cataract surgery. They had a median follow-up of nearly 11 years, during which close to 19% of participants died.
Moreover, their findings show that those who had cataract surgery had a 36% higher risk of dying from heart disease. It also shows that their risk of death from any cause was 13% higher than those who didn’t have cataracts.
The researchers note that depression and oxidative stress may be common factors that impact the formation of cataracts. These factors may also increase a person’s risk of death from heart disease. Previous studies show that oxidative stress can cause DNA damage, which can contribute to cataract formation and arteries narrowing.
The Australian team also notes that individuals with cataracts are likelier to develop depression, even after undergoing cataract surgery. People with depression have an increased risk of developing heart disease.
The study findings show that there are “significant associations of self-reported cataract surgery” with an increased risk of death. Dr. Mark Fromer says that cataract surgeries are happening at an earlier age than before.
“This has led to patients living for a longer time after their surgery than… reported just decades ago,” says Fromer. “Seeing better… also leads to a better quality of life and may prevent accidents which can lead to death and injury due to poor sight.”
Fromer is an ophthalmologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. He was not part of the study. To learn more about the results, read the article available in the British Journal of Ophthalmology. If you want to promote your circulation, energy levels, and overall heart health, try HeartBeet Complete.