People who have undergone cataract surgery have a reduced chance of fracturing their hip, according to new figures.
A major study involving the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the Jules Stein Eye Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, found that hip fractures were significantly reduced in patients who had had cataract surgery, compared to those who did not undergo the procedure.
The research was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), with experts claiming that the study is the first to demonstrate that cataract surgery reduces the rate of fractures in older patients with vision loss.
In addition, it suggests that cataract surgery could be an effective intervention to help prevent fractures and reduce associated morbidity and costs.
During the research, experts tracked hip fracture incidence in a cohort of Medicare patients with cataracts over a seven year period, with the study led by Dr Anne L Coleman, the Fran and Ray Stark professor of ophthalmology at the Jules Stein Eye Institute at UCLA and director of the Academy's Hoskins Center for Quality Eye Care.
The medical records of about 400,000 patients who had cataract surgery were analysed for hip fractures that occurred within one year of cataract surgery, which was then compared to hip fracture incidence in a matched group of patients who had cataracts, but did not have cataract surgery.
They found that cataract surgery was associated with a 16 per cent decrease in patients' adjusted odds of suffering a hip fracture within one year of the procedure.
Dr Coleman said the study suggests that people should never be regarded as 'too old' to have their cataracts removed.
"In fact, the greatest reduction in hip fracture risk was in patients who had cataract surgery when they were in their 80s," she concluded.