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Unexpected Impact of Cataract Surgery on Car-Related Injuries

Unexpected Impact of Cataract Surgery on Car-Related Injuries

Is your world looking a little less sharp? Cataract surgery may be the solution—and make the roads a safer place.

Cleopatra and her crew, floating on her royal barge down the Nile from Aswan to Khartoum, had to watch out for the six cataracts that could damage their craft and send them into the roiling waters. And to this day, these sometimes shallow, rocky stretches of white water cause terrible accidents.

Cataracts that cloud the lens in your eye badly enough to interfere with you cruising down the highway can be the cause of bad accidents too, according to a study in JAMA Ophthalmology. Luckily, the researchers found getting a cataract removed significantly reduces your risk of being a danger to yourself or others while you’re navigating your vehicle through traffic.

They tracked 559,546 patients, 65 years of age and older, who underwent cataract surgery and found traffic accident rates fell nine percent post-surgery. (In that group, there were 2.34 crashes per 1,000 patients annually before surgery and 2.14 crashes per 1,000 patients afterwards.) Having that many fewer crashes prevents injury to drivers, passengers and folks in other vehicles—and saves millions in healthcare costs and billions of stress-related moments.

Is your world looking a little less sharp? A simple eye exam can tell if you have a cataract; the lens-replacement procedure itself is usually swift (10 minutes) and effective. For a simple procedure when you have no other relevant health problems, the complication rate is below two percent—and it’s getting lower all the time.

Once you have the procedure done, you’ll be ready to cruise the Nile—and your hometown highway—safely.

Medically reviewed in July 2018.

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