(HealthDay News) — The rate of cataract surgeries is substantially lower among older adults in whom Alzheimer’s disease is newly diagnosed compared with their peers without Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study published online May 14 in Acta Ophthalmologica.

Kaisa Hokkinen, from the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio, and colleagues compared the incidence of cataract surgeries (2005 to 2011) among 70,718 community-dwelling Finnish persons with clinically verified Alzheimer’s disease diagnoses and a matched comparison cohort of 70,718 individuals without Alzheimer’s disease.

The researchers found that 25,763 cataract procedures were performed on persons with Alzheimer’s disease and 26,254 were performed on persons without Alzheimer’s disease during the study period. Before the index date of Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis, both groups had a similar increase in the incidence of surgery, with rates of 3.5 and 3.3 per 100 person-years among those with and without Alzheimer’s disease, respectively. In the one year following the index Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis date, the incidence diminished steeply in the Alzheimer’s disease group, whereas a slow increase continued in the non-Alzheimer’s disease group, yielding rates of 3.7 and 4.7 per 100 person-years in people with and without Alzheimer’s disease after the index date of Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis.

“The stigma of Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis may lead to fewer referrals to surgery, although these patients are expected to benefit from surgery,” write the authors.

Abstract/Full Text