Believe it or not, women have a higher chance of getting cataracts than men.
And a newly published study shows women who have them removed benefit not only from improved vision, but also longer life.
“It really affected how I saw the road,” said Pam Hansen.
Last spring, Hansen took a trip to sunny California. She had never been before, and says seeing all the hotspots was a bit tricky because of her cataracts.
“It was almost like a veil over your eyes, everything a little cloudy,” said Hansen.
The cataracts were also affecting what she did every day whether at work, home or driving around.
She decided to have surgery to remove them, and she thinks that’s the secret to “the fountain of youth” for women.
She might be onto something.
According to a recent study, out of 74,000 women ages 65 and older who had the surgery, 60 percent had a lower chance of dying early – for any reason.
Researchers say they also found that 37 to 69 percent lowered their risk of dying from things like an accident, cancer, lung and heart disease.
“I think one of the scariest senses for a lot of patients to lose is their sense of sight,” said Dr. Y. Ralph Chu with Chu Vision Institute.
Chu has performed countless cataract surgeries, including Hansen’s. The procedure, he says, not only removes the cataract, but also improves vision.
“When we take the cataract, we’re removing that natural tissue and then replacing it with an artificial implant to refocus the light. And it’s that implant that helps people see better,” said Dr. Chu.
And the surgery is pretty quick – about 30 minutes.
The latest numbers from the National Eye Institute show that the risk of cataracts increases with each decade starting at the age of 40. White women have the highest risk of getting cataracts.