Age-related cataracts linked to depression

Mr Haifang Wang of Soochow University, Suzhou, China, and colleagues studied more than 4,600 Chinese adults aged 60 years or older. Our study sheds further light on the complex relationship between aging, vision loss, cataract, and depression and suggests that there may be a role for cataract surgery in improving mental health in the elderly, Mr Wang wrote.The study found that symptoms of depression were 33% more likely when cataracts were present.For adults with cataracts who had received no formal education, a 50% increase was found. These results suggest that optometrists and vision care professionals should think beyond the direct effects of cataracts on visual impairment, Mr Michael Twa, editor-in-chief of Optometry and Vision Science, said in a release. We should also consider the broader impact that vision loss may have on mental health and well-being. The researchers noted that the study does not indicate whether vision loss may cause older adults to become isolated and withdrawn, or whether depression might make th less likely to seek treatment for cataracts.As previously reported by Insight an Australian study by The George Institute for Global Health found patients waiting for their first eye cataract surgery showed signs of depression. The Australian researchers found depressive symptoms in 28.6% of patients – three times higher than would normally be expected – with older adults having high rates of these symptoms.Ms Anna Palagyi, a research fellow at The George Institute explained that depression and falls are not only a burden to the individual, they can also be costly to the health syst.

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