A new study, co-authored by The Foundation’s Dr Ciku Mathenge, finds that cataract surgery significantly improves a person's quality of life, vision and general health.

The study, conducted in Kenya, Bangladesh, and the Philippines, explores the impact cataract surgery has on poverty and overall health amongst people aged 50 years and over.

Approximately 650 people with cataract were interviewed about their perceptions of their own eyesight, mobility, performance of everyday activities, pain, depression and anxiety. A group of people of the same gender and age with normal vision were also interviewed and asked the same questions.

Those people with visual impairment recorded a substantially poorer quality of life related to vision and general health than those in the control group.  

Next, the group suffering from cataract blindness received free or subsidised surgery to restore their vision.

The Foundation’s Dr Mathenge was co-author of the study and oversaw the research conducted in Kenya.

A year on, the researchers interviewd the patients, along with those people in the control group.

The second survey found that after receiving cataract surgery, significant health improvements were measured in those who previously suffered from visual impairment. Overall perceptions of health improved to the levels found in the control group.

In Kenya, patients reported increased ease in undertaking everyday activities and a reduced frequency of negative psychological experiencesand ‘stigmas' associated with having poor vision. In Bangladesh, patients reported much higher levels of mobility, daily activities and self-care after surgery.

People in all countries also showed improvements in their self-rated health, reflecting a wider positive impact of cataract surgery on perceptions of health.

>Read The Impact of Cataract Surgery on Health Related Quality of Life in Kenya, the Philippines, and Bangladesh.