Medicare patients 65 years and older who underwent cataract surgery had a lower odds of hip fracture 1 year after the procedure when compared with patients with cataract who did not have cataract surgery, according to a study in the August 1 issue of JAMA.
Visual impairment has been found to be strongly associated with an increased risk of fractures, a significant cause of illness and death in the elderly population. "Specifically, vision plays an important role in providing a reference frame for postural balance and stability, and cataract-induced changes in vision have been found to be associated with postural instability," according to background information in the article. "Furthermore, cataracts have been found to be the most common cause of fracture-related visual impairment, with untreated cataract causing up to 49 percent of visual impairment in patients with femoral neck fractures related to decreased vision." Despite the association of poor vision and cataracts with increased fall and fracture risk, only a limited number of studies have examined the influence of cataract surgery on fall incidence in visually impaired adults.
Victoria L. Tseng, M.D., of the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, R.I., and colleagues examined the association between cataract surgery and fracture incidence at 1-year. The study included a 5 percent random sample of Medicare Part B beneficiaries with cataract who received and did not receive cataract surgery from 2002 through 2009. Analyses were adjusted for various factors.