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Improved Visual Function and Attenuation of Declines in Health-Related Quality of Life After Cataract Extraction



To measure the effect of cataract extraction and lens implantation on elderly persons' health-related quality of life and on their ability to perform visual activities.


Evaluations of health status were conducted preoperatively and at 3 and 12 months after surgery on patients scheduled for cataract extraction.


Patients were enrolled from the General Eye Service of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and 33 Boston practices.


The cohort consisted of 464 patients aged 65 years or older who were identified from the surgical schedule of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. At 3 to 12 months after surgery, 458 (99%) of the participants were successfully contacted. Health-related quality of life data were available for 419 (90%) to assess changes after surgery.

Main outcome measures

Ophthalmologic examinations were performed preoperatively and during the follow-up period. The Activities of Daily Vision Scale (ADVS) and the Medical Outcomes Study 36-item short from (SF-36) were administered before surgery and at 3 and 12 months postoperatively to assess changes in health status.


At 12 months after surgery, 95% of patients had improved Snellen visual acuity, 80% had improved ADVS scores, but only 36% had improved SF-36 physical functioning. Average scores on seven of eight SF-36 subscales worsened at 12 months. Patients with improved ADVS scores had significantly smaller declines across all SF-36 dimensions except for role limitations due to emotional problems.


Improved visual function after cataract surgery was associated with better health-related quality of life, suggesting that age-related declines in health may be attenuated by improvements in visual function.

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