The effect of cataract surgery on postural control

Shulamit Schwartz, Ori Segal, Yaniv Barkana, Rene Schwesig, Isaac Avni, Yair Morad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE. Falls are a significant cause of morbidity in the elderly. Because decreased vision is known to be a significant risk factor for falling in this age group, we sought to examine the effect of the removal of cataract, a major cause of visual handicap, on postural stability. METHODS. Postural stability was measured in 23 patients who underwent cataract surgery, before and 1 to 4 months after surgery. Stability indices included Stability Effect, Fourier Spectrum of Postural Sway, and Synchronizations, and, based on these measurements, Falling Index, which had been shown in earlier studies to predict the risk of falling. RESULTS. Visual acuity in the surgical eye significantly improved in all patients after surgery (P < 0.01) and did not change in the fellow eye. Stability improved in most patients (19/23) and Fourier Spectrum of Postural Sway improved in the high-frequency bands (above 0.5 Hz), when viewing with the surgical eye, but not when viewing with the nonsurgical eye (P < 0.05). By Falling Index, before surgery, 12 of 23 patients were at high risk of falling, and only six were at low risk. After surgery, 16 of 23 were at low risk and only three remained at high risk (χ2 test, P < 0.008). CONCLUSIONS. Cataract surgery significantly improves postural stability. Considering the high cost of treating fall-related injuries in the elderly, the findings may imply that cataract surgery is cost effective in this regard.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)920-924
Number of pages5
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2005


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