Cataract in Older People

In older people, visual impairment caused by cataract may increase the risk of falls by up to three times.

Cataract is a common cause of vision impairment but is completely curable with surgery.

Surgery for cataract with lens implant is highly effective for restoring vision. The operation is performed under local anaesthetic so is well-tolerated by older patients and can be done when there are health issues that negate general anaesthesia.

The operation takes around 15 minutes. Using sutureless microsurgery, the cataract is removed and a new artificial lens is placed inside the eye. The restoration of sight and having good functional vision is important for all but particularly important in older patients as it improves quality of life and reduces the risk of falls and injuries.

One study in the United Kingdom showed that half of all patients admitted to hospital with hip fractures after a fall had visual impairment. Half of these visual impairments were caused by cataract. The study also showed that patients are at risk of falls while waiting for cataract surgery; 34 percent experienced a fall while on waiting lists, showing it’s worthwhile doing surgery as early as possible.

Good visual function requires clear focused vision, ideally without the continued need for glasses. Lens implantation through cataract surgery corrects the eye’s focusing and gives functional vision. When multifocal or EDOF lenses are used, vision can be restored for both distance and near vision.

Cataract surgery today offers more than simply ‘curing the cataract’ by removing it.

Surgery provides an opportunity to improve visual function to be better than it has been for many years; with the right lens implant, patients who wore glasses before surgery often don’t need them afterwards. The operation is performed as day surgery and vision recovers quickly so that most patients can see well enough to return to normal activity the day after.

Photo of Dr Patrick Versace

Dr Patrick Versace

Ophthalmic Surgeon

With over 30 years’ experience in Ophthalmology, Dr Versace is a leader in ophthalmic surgery in Sydney, Australia. Specialising in cataract and refractive surgery, Dr Versace uses a personalised, empathetic approach, recognising each patient is unique. Dr Versace is committed to using the most technologically advanced techniques to ensure the best possible patient experience and outcomes.