Looking Hip

personalEYES | 12 Sep 2019

Looking Hip

If you are mulling over the benefits of cataract surgery, you could be forgiven for not thinking that it could prevent hip surgery. But according to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), having cataract surgery can reduce the risk of hip fractures and breaks in people over 65.

Though this might sound odd at first, given many hip injuries occur due to missteps and falls, it makes sense that improved vision results in fewer breaks. By improving sight and depth perception, cataract surgery keeps people on their feet and out of hospital.


The research, conducted by the H. Dunbar Hoskins Jr., M.D. Center for Quality Eye Care at the American Academy of Ophthalmology‘s and the Jules Stein Eye Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, looked at cataract surgery and hip surgery rates for thousands of people in the US. Cataract surgery was most effective in reducing hip injuries for those in the 80-84 age bracket. Additionally, for people with severe cataracts, the risk was reduced by 23%.

For those suffering from cataracts, but undecided as to whether to have surgery, this new research may be the incentive they need. Hip surgery can take an extremely long time to recover from properly, and this is even more so the case for older people, as they become more frail and their bodies less effective at repairing themselves.

Conversely, cataract surgery has a comparatively small recovery time; takes only an hour to perform, and patients can usually resume their normal activities only a day later. If it came to a choice between hip and cataract surgery, you would be hard pressed to find someone to choose the former.


Cataract surgery can have additional benefits on top of those that contribute to physical safety. Dr Anne Coleman, the eye surgeon who led the study, says that cataract surgery can be beneficial in a whole host of ways.

”People should never be regarded as ‘too old’ to have their cataracts removed,” she said. ”Other studies show that after cataract surgery, older people tend to sleep better, be less depressed, and lead more active, enjoyable lives.”

Restoring sight, whether it be through laser eye surgery, cataract surgery, contacts or glasses, is bound to give people a new lease on life. After all, it’s the closest you can get to seeing the world through new eyes.