Cataract Removal and Alzheimer's Disease

Sponsored by University Hospital Case Medical Center

Phase Quota
Phase N/A

Two very common aging-related diseases in older adults are Alzheimer's disease (AD) and cataracts. In elderly adults, these two diseases frequently occur in the same person. Although a cure for AD is currently unavailable, cataracts can be effectively treated with surgery in most people. The removal of cataracts has documented benefits for visual performance and for reducing accidents and falls. However, it has been the experience of the ophthalmologists, and others in the field, that patients, caregivers, and primary care doctors are reluctant to proceed with cataract surgery once an individual is given the diagnosis of AD. It is thought that cataract surgery will not improve the AD patient's quality of life, vision, and cognition. The investigators have designed this study to determine whether or not this is true.

Study Start Date: June 2009

Estimated Completion Date: August 2016

Specialties: Neurology: Dementia Ophthalmology: Lens and Cataract,Neuro-Ophthalmology,Refractive/Eye Surgery Physician Assistant: Neurology,Ophthalmology


  • Procedure: Immediate Cataract Surgery

Inclusion criteria

  • Age 50 and older
  • Clinical diagnosis of possible/probable Alzheimer's disease, mild to moderate severity (MMSE scores: 14-26 inclusive)
  • Bilateral visually significant cataracts
  • Best corrected visual acuity 20/50 or worse in better eye
  • No ocular pathology
  • Subject is community-dwelling, or in assisted living facility
  • Psychotropic drug must be with stable dosage for 30 days

Exclusion criteria

  • History of cataract removal
  • History of visually significant retinal, or optic nerve abnormalities
  • Subject resides in a long term nursing care facility
  • Subject does not desire cataract surgery
  • Informed consent cannot be obtained from either subject or their research partner
  • Subject shows evidence (in preoperative testing) of unstable cardiac or pulmonary function
  • History of uncontrolled diabetes or hypertension
  • History of congestive heart failure and angina
  • History of stroke in areas known to affect cognition
  • History of renal failure
  • Life expectancy of less than 1 year
  • Down's Syndrome

Study Locations And Contact Information

  • University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Cleveland Ohio
    Contact: Jonathan Lass MD 216-844-8588
  • MetroHealth Medical Center, Cleveland Ohio
    Contact: Thomas Steinemann MD 216-778-2236
  • University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Cleveland Ohio
  • MetroHealth Medical Center, Cleveland Ohio

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