“Patients should use the results of this study as a reminder of the importance of having regular eye exams with your eye doctor, especially as you get older or if you have certain medical conditions,” said Gorski, who wasn’t involved in the new study.
The research was conducted in Australia, and was led by Dr. Mingguang He of the Centre for Eye Research Australia at the University of Melbourne. His team analyzed data obtained between 1999 and 2008 on nearly 15,000 American patients, aged 40 and older. More than 2,000 (9.6%) of them said they’d undergone a cataract surgery.
Over a median follow-up of nearly 11 years, close to 4,000 (19%) of the participants died.
After accounting for a number of health and socioeconomic factors, the researchers found that the risk of death from any cause was 13% higher and the risk of death from heart disease was 36% higher in people who’d had a cataract surgery.
Oxidative stress (an imbalance in natural oxidation processes affecting cells) and depression may be common factors that could impact the formation of cataracts and also raise a person’s risk of death from heart disease, He’s team said in their study.
The study authors pointed to prior research, which has shown that DNA damage caused by oxidative stress contributes to cataract formation while also spurring an unhealthy narrowing of the arteries.