“Many people – surgeons included – see sight problems and sleepless nights as two separate issues, when in fact…they could be linked.”
The Link between Cataracts and Insomnia
What do cataracts and insomnia have in common? It turns out, much more than you would think.
Several scientists are claiming that cataract surgery could be a cure for insomnia. Because cataracts restrict light from passing clearly through the lens, including blue light, this light never reaches the area of the brain that sets our body clock (suprachaismatic nucleus). It is theorized that this could be a contributing factor to insomnia. To prove this theory, researchers at the Nara Medical University studied 1,037 subjects, 174 of whom cataract surgery, using wristwatch-style sleep trackers to record duration and quality of sleep. The study found that those who already had the surgery slept better and remained asleep for longer than those who had not yet had the surgery.
“There is mounting evidence that cataract surgery really can have an effect on people’s sleep problems and I’ve seen it in my own patients,” says ophthalmic surgeon James Ball from the Optegra Eye Hospital Yorkshire.
Over the years, our eyes age right along with the rest of our body, resulting in the clouding of the eye’s natural lens – cataracts. Infact, by the age of 80, more than half of all Americans will have a cataract. It’s a natural part of the aging process. Over time, a proteins build up in the lens they begin to form protein clumps, which obscure normal vision. These clumps, or deposits, prevent light from passing clearly through the lens, causing images to appear cloudy or blurry, especially at night.
The good news: cataracts are very treatable and cataract surgery is the most frequently performed operation in the United States. And with a 98% success rate, it is also has the highest success rate of any surgery practiced today.
Insomnia is a common health problem, affecting 30-40% of adults, according to the American Sleep Association. While most suffer from occasional insomnia, 10% suffers from what is known as chronic insomnia (symptoms at least 3 nights per week). However, because of differentiations in individual sleep patterns and levels of fatigue, insomnia can be difficult to diagnose. It can be mild to severe depending on how often it occurs and for how long.
Signs and Symptoms
There are numerous signs and symptoms of insomnia:
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Waking during the night
- Failure to return to sleep after waking
- Waking up too early
- Feeling tired even after a long night’s sleep
- Problems concentrating
- Memory issues
- Feeling depressed
If you feel you suffer from insomnia, contact your healthcare provider.
About Cataract Surgery
Cataract surgery is a painless outpatient procedure that involves removing the clouded lens and, in most cases, replacing it with a clear, intraocular lens implant (IOL). most patients can resume their normal, everyday function in very little time and can even drive a few days after surgery.
Led by board certified ophthalmologist Dr. Samuel Boles the Anne Arundel Eye Center (AAEC) is a regional leader in the diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma and cataracts. Dr. Boles utilizes the LenSx® Laser, the most technologically advanced option for cataract patients today, to create a cataract surgery that’s 100% unique to each patient. Under local anesthesia, a small incision is made on in the edge of the cornea and high frequency ultrasound vibrations gently disolves the natural lens into small pieces. These fragments are removed and replaced with an IOL.
Anne Arundel Eye Center always welcomes new patients.
If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Boles, Dr. Kathryn Gurganus Turner, Dr. Nicole Kershner, and the eye care specialists here at AAEC by calling 410-224-2010. AAEC is staffed by caring and knowledgeable professionals who will help guide you on your healing journey.