Having cataract surgery may make you sleep and think better

One of the obvious major benefits of cataract surgery is better vision and I have also discussed lesser known benefits such as a lower likelihood of having a fall or a hip fracture after cataract surgery.

I was most interested to come across a recent study from Japan which looked at the benefits of cataract surgery and sleep and thinking .

The Japanese researchers studied 934 people over the age of 60, of which 154 underwent successful cataract surgery and 780 did not a cataract operation.

The two groups both had measurements of their sleep quality by attaching an actigraph on their wrist – a machine that records physical activity whilst sleeping.

Each group was also interviewed by a psychologist who performed specific cognitive tests to assess their mental state through a scoring system.

The results showed that the group of patients who had cataract surgery were 33% less likely to have impaired cognitive ability. More so, the group of patients who had cataract surgery showed a significantly better sleep score compared to the group who did not have cataract surgery.

It transpired that having cataract surgery improved your mental function and made you sleep better!

Why would this be the case I hear you ask?

Well, one theory is that having cataract surgery may allow more light into your eye. This in turn can help you regulate your circadian rhythm – the biological cycle your body needs to regulate day and night.

If cataract surgery benefits your circadian rhythm in this way, it could explain why you sleep better than patients who still have cataracts.

If you sleep better, it could relate to better cognitive function such as better memory and thinking.

Whatever the mechanism, it seems that cataract surgery has a whole host of other benefits beyond seeing better.

Miyata K, et al “Cataract surgery, objective sleep quality, and cognition in the general elderly population: A cross-sectional study of the HEIJO-KYO cohort”
SLEEP 2015; Abstract 599