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Vision Roundup

September 13, 2013

People who have their cataracts removed not only improve their vision—they may also extend their lives.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

A brighter outlook for cataract patients. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness, but surgery can reverse this. (Rakesh Ahuja/Wikipedia)

People undergoing cataract surgery have the cloudy lenses of their eyes removed and replaced with clear, artificial lenses. The procedure improves their vision, and according to a new study in the journal Ophthamology, may also increase their longevity. Over a fifteen-year period, cataract patients who had the procedure significantly out-lived those who hadn’t. As to why, the researchers say but it could be because better vision helps them avoid hazards, take their medications properly, or just makes them feel happier and more confident—factors already associated with longevity.

In other news, a United Nations study reports that treated wastewater is a vastly under-utilized resource, despite growing water shortages in many countries. They claim that a volume equal to the flow over Niagara Falls is generated and untapped in North America alone. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.