Cataract surgery improves mood, cognition, sleep in Alzheimer's patients, research shows

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People with mild forms of Alzheimer's disease experienced improvement in sleep patterns, cognitive functioning and mood after undergoing vision-correcting cataract surgery, new research revealed.

The study, conducted by researchers at Tenon Hospital in Paris, is the first to examine if cataract surgery benefits people with Alzheimer's.

Investigators studied 38 patients with mild Alzheimer's and debilitating cataract in at least one eye before and after participants underwent cataract surgery. They found that 25% of these patients exhibited improvement in cognitive status, the ability to perceive, understand and respond appropriately to one's surroundings. Several of the patients became less depressed.

"In future studies we intend to learn what factors, specifically, led to the positive effects we found, so that we can boost the quality of life for Alzheimer's patients, their families and caregivers," said lead researcher Brigitte Girard, M.D., in findings presented Tuesday at the American Academy of Ophthalmology's 2011 Annual Meeting.

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