In a study of Medicare beneficiaries who had their cataracts removed, 16% fewer had hip fractures within the first year of surgery than those who did not, according to University of California, Los Angeles researchers.

Study participants between the ages of 80 and 84 experienced the biggest benefit of the surgery, with a 28% reduced risk of fractures.

“This is elective surgery, and sometimes people think, ‘I’m too sick to have my cataracts out,’ or ‘I’m too old,’” the study’s lead author, Anne L. Coleman, M.D., told the New York Times.

The study was published in an August issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association.