The research is drawn from data gathered in the Blue Mountains Eye Study, a population-based cohort study of vision and common eye diseases in an older Australian population.
A total of 354 persons aged 49 years and older and diagnosed with cataract-related vision impairment - some of whom had undergone surgery and others who had not - were assessed between 1992 and 2007.
Adjustments were made for age and gender as well as a number of mortality risk factors, including hypertension, diabetes, smoking, cardiovascular disease, body mass index and measures of frailty and comorbid disease. Follow-up visits took place after five and ten years since the baseline exam.
Jie Jin Wang, Ph.D., of the Westmead Millennium Institute and one of lead researchers of the study, said that their findings suggested that correcting cataract patients' visual impairment in their daily practice results in improved outcomes beyond that of the eye and vision, and has important impacts on general health.
Wang noted one limitation of the study is that participants with cataract-related visual impairment who did not have cataract surgery could have had other health problems that prevented them from undergoing surgery, and that these other health problems could partly explain the poorer survival among non-surgical participants.
The study has been published in the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.