• cataract surgery;
  • fall;
  • mobility;
  • balance

OBJECTIVES: To determine the effect of cataract surgery on the occurrence of falls and mobility and balance problems in older adults with cataract.

DESIGN: Longitudinal follow-up study.

SETTING: Clinical Research Unit, University of Alabama at Birmingham.

PARTICIPANTS: Persons aged 55 and older with a cataract were recruited from 12 eye clinics in Alabama from October 1994 through March 1996. Participants were classified into two groups: those who had cataract surgery (surgery group, n=122) and those who had not (no-surgery group, n=92).

MEASUREMENTS: At baseline and 1-year follow-up visits, information on the occurrence of falls and mobility and balance problems was collected based on subjects' recall of events during the prior 12 months.

RESULTS: After adjusting for demographic, behavioral, medical, and visual characteristics, there was no difference between the two groups in the likelihood of falling (risk ratio (RR)=0.96, 95% confidence interval (CI)=0.64–1.42) or in having mobility (RR=0.81, 95% CI=0.55–1.18) or balance difficulties (RR=0.71, 95% CI=0.37–1.39).

CONCLUSION: Cataract surgery had no association with the occurrence of falls or mobility or balance problems in independently living older adults with a cataract.