Improved visual function and attenuation of declines in health-related quality of life after cataract extraction

Arch Ophthalmol. 1994 Nov;112(11):1419-25. doi: 10.1001/archopht.1994.01090230033017.


Objective: 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.

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

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

Patients: 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.

Results: 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.

Conclusion: 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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Cataract Extraction*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Lenses, Intraocular
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life*
  • Visual Acuity / physiology*