Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Better Brains After Cataract Surgery?!

As we get older and get cataracts we start to lose our ability to see blue light. Cataracts, especially the brownish nuclear sclerotic cataracts that are so common in aging, are nature's blue blockers! A small pilot study done in England has shown that removing cataracts and increasing the amount of blue light that reaches the retina boosts our brain function.

"Aging is asssociated with insomnia, depression , and cognitive decline," the study authors said. "Removal of a yellow cataract and replacement with a clear intraocular lens as a means of increasing blue-light trnasmission has potential benefits to non-visual brain responses."

These responses are linked to the melanopsin-dependent systems in the brain, specifically our circadian rhythm or wake/sleep schedule. In turn, a disruption in this cycle--older individuals tend to sleep less, sleep more poorly, and have more trouble staying on a regular sleep/wake schedule--is associated with not only depression but also a slowing of brain responses to all kinds of mental tasks.

15 individuals with an average age of 75 had cataract surgery and then underwent a series of mental tasks that were both simple and complex. Aftert the surgery their reaction times were dramatically  faster, regardless of their vision!

The more we study cataract surgery the more benefits we discover!

1 comment:

  1. It is an interesting study and it means our eyesight is in direct proportion with brain functions.

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