According to a recent article in the UK’s Daily Mail, a study at Nara Medical University in Japan found that patients who had cataract surgery sleep better. At the heart of this study: the clouding of the lens preventing light from reaching the part of our brains that sets our body clocks.
The study had 1,037 people with cataracts wear a wristwatch type sleep tracker to record quality and duration of sleep. Those who previously had their cataracts removed (approximately 17%) not only slept better, they slept longer.
Also noted, a previous study conducted on 400 patients, all of who had their cataracts removed. According to this earlier study’s findings, one month after surgery, 28% of patients had incidences of poor sleep. Nine months after surgery only 15% of patients had problems sleeping.
It has long been thought a blue light resets the body’s clock during the day affecting nighttime sleep patterns. When this is thrown off, sleep is affected. When sleep is affected it can increase the risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
Specifically, receptor cells in the retina are stimulated by blue light, which is transmitted to what is referred to as the “suprachaismatic nucleus”. This is what sets the body’s clock. A cataract can block this transmission interrupting the 24-hour light/dark cycle.
The article tells the story of Margaret, a 70 year-old woman in the U.K. Once getting by on as little as 2 hours of sleep, Margaret claims cataract surgery cured her insomnia, which began just after her cataracts were first diagnosed.
Advancements such as Dropless and laser-assisted cataract procedures (which we offer) continue to change cataract surgery for the better. If studies prove true, this simple, safe procedure not only improves what happens with your eyes open, but what happens when you close them each night.