Cataract Extraction Reduces the Risk of Dementia

Older adults who undergo cataract extraction may have a significantly reduced risk of dementia, according to the results of a recent study.

The researchers utilized data from the Adult Changes in Thought Study, which included 3008 participants who had a diagnosis of cataracts or glaucoma from 1994 to September 2018. All participants were aged 65 years or older and were not diagnosed with dementia at enrollment, defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental disorders fourth edition criteria. Follow up visits occurred every 2 years until a diagnosis was made of all-cause dementia, Alzheimer disease, or Alzheimer disease and related dementia.

The results indicated that when compared with participants without surgery, cataract extraction was associated with a significant reduction in the risk of dementia (hazard ratio, 0.71). This result was based on 23,554 person-years of follow-up after controlling for variables at the time of cataract diagnosis. While similar results were observed for the development of Alzheimer disease dementia, glaucoma surgery did not have a significant impact on dementia risk (hazard ratio, 1.08).

“This cohort study found that cataract extraction was significantly associated with lower risk of dementia development,” the researchers concluded. “If validated in future studies, cataract surgery may have clinical relevance in older adults at risk of developing dementia.”


—Leigh Precopio



Lee CS, Gibbons LE, Lee AY, et al. Association between cataract extraction and development of dementia. JAMA Intern Med. Published online December 6, 2021.