Mood, Cognitive Ability, and Sleep Patterns in Patients With Alzheimer Disease Improved After Cataract Surgery

Patients with mild Alzheimer disease whose vision improved after cataract surgery also experienced improvements in cognitive ability, mood, sleep patterns, and other behaviors, according to a study presented by Brigitte Girard, MD, at the AAO annual meeting in Orlando.1 The results were also reported in an AAO news release.

The study, conducted by Dr. Girard and colleagues at Tenon Hospital in Paris, France, included 38 patients (average age = 85 years). All participants exhibited mild dementia due to Alzheimer disease and had a debilitating cataract in at least one eye for which they underwent cataract surgery. Postoperatively, distance and near vision improved dramatically in all but one patient, the news release said.

At 1 month preoperatively and 3 months postoperatively, a neuropsychologist evaluated the patients for mood and depression, behavior, ability to function independently, and cognitive abilities. Overall, 25% of patients showed improvements in cognitive status, or the ability to perceive, understand, and respond appropriately to surroundings, according to the news release. Depression was relieved in many participants, and no changes were found in level of autonomy. Sleep patterns improved as well, and nighttime behavior problems decreased in most patients.

“We wanted to learn whether significant vision improvement would result in positive mood and behavior changes, or might instead upset these patients’ fragile coping strategies,” Dr. Girard said in the news release. “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.”

  1. Girard B, Chouard B, Levy P, Laroche L. Does cataract surgery improve outcomes for Alzheimer disease patients? Paper presented at: The American Academy of Ophthalmology Annual Meeting; October 23, 2011; Orlando, Florida.