Is There A Benefit to Cataract Surgery in Patients with Alzhemier’s Disease?

June 29, 2009

Researchers from several universities announced the start of a $2.9 million five-year long NIH-funded study to evaluate the impact of cataract surgery on patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

Patients with dementia lose the ability to see in low-contrast and medium contrast settings but cataracts add to the visual difficulties of these patients. The researchers note that after cataract surgery, there can be improvements in behavior of patients with Alzhemier’s Disease and that better sight may even help these patients recognize family members. Cataract removal may also offer benefits in quality of life.

In the NIH-funded study, one-half of the participants will undergo cataract surgery and the rest will have the surgery delayed for six months. The researchers will follow the progress of both groups and primary caregivers will also inform the researchers about the patient’s quality of life and activity levels.

Another focus of the study is to determine if retinal thickness has any connection with Alzheimer’s disease.  The retinal thickness will be measured with OCT.

Grover “Cleve” Gilmore is the dean of the Case Western Reserve Mandel School and the principal investigator of the study.

Read the release.




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One Response to “Is There A Benefit to Cataract Surgery in Patients with Alzhemier’s Disease?”

  • Dr. Weitzner

    i have had a handful of patients who looked very demented, and after cataract surgery, began to talk, smile and just simply ‘woke up”. sometimes, people look “out of it” because they cant see, and their dementia would be far milder if their vision were better. so don’t dismiss all patients with dementia when they have very significant cataract- it might very well help. (this is not a license to unscrupulous surgeons to take out 20/60 psc cataracts from demented patients).