By 2030, 38 million Americans will suffer from cataracts, a number that will increase to 50 million by 2050, according to the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health. The most common treatment for cataracts is surgery, and new research suggests its benefits are strong.
A study of patient satisfaction surveys revealed that almost all patients who undergo cataract surgery are satisfied with their vision and quality of life post-surgery. The study, from the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) Institute for Quality Improvement, showed that 99.7 percent of patients would recommend the procedure to friends or relatives suffering from cataracts. Ninety-six percent of patients reported that their vision was better post-surgery, and 98 percent said they were comfortable during the procedure and post-discharge. What’s more, 96 percent returned to normal activities of daily living within one week of the procedure.
“The data clearly shows that patients find value in cataract surgery and are generally very pleased with the outcomes of the procedure,” said Naomi Kuznets, PhD, vice president and senior director for the AAAHC Institute for Quality Improvement.
Cataracts occur when protein builds up on the lens of an eye, making the person’s vision cloudy. According to experts at the Mayo Clinic, common symptoms of cataracts include clouded, blurred or dimmed vision, increasing difficulty with vision at night and sensitivity to light or glare. Individuals experiencing these symptoms should consult an ophthalmologist to see if they are candidates for cataract surgery.
“The satisfaction numbers in this study show how worthwhile cataract surgery is for so many individuals," said Kris Kilgore, RN, AAAHC Institute board member and administrative director of Grand Rapids Ophthalmology Surgical Care Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “Every day we hear from patients who have improved quality of life thanks to this procedure. This study bears out empirically the wonderful anecdotes we hear from patients every day.”
Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure, meaning it requires no overnight hospital stay. During cataract surgery, a surgeon makes a small incision to remove the cloudy lens, and then replaces it with a clear, manmade lens. To reduce the costs of the procedure and for patients’ convenience, surgeons commonly schedule cataract procedures at surgery centers, which are small surgical facilities that may be on a hospital campus or offsite.
The safety of these facilities is overseen by government regulators and by accrediting bodies such as AAAHC. During an accreditation evaluation by AAAHC, a trained medical professional visits a surgical facility to personally verify its adherence to patient safety, quality care and value standards.
If you are a candidate for cataract surgery, visit www.aaahc.org to find a local AAAHC-accredited facility.
New national movement unites stroke survivors
Never before has there been a way for the nearly 6.5 million stroke survivors in the United States to rally together as they travel the path to recovery. Unlike other survivor communities, there is no banner, symbol or color that survivors and the general public can identify with when it comes to stroke and stroke recovery.
That is changing with the launch of National Stroke Association’s Come Back Strong initiative, the first national movement to rally for stroke recovery. It was created to inspire hope following a stroke, so those survivors now have a voice.
“This is a history-making moment for the stroke community,” said Matt Lopez, CEO of National Stroke Association. "Survivors and their caregivers have been asking for a unified message, a symbol, a color to support them as they come back strong from stroke.
“As a stroke survivor myself, I understand the desire to return to our normal selves that drives stroke survivors forward. Come Back Strong serves as a starting point to hope that one day people everywhere will understand what a stroke is, how to avoid one and the real opportunity that exists to come back strong after stroke.”
The movement, created to raise awareness about the fifth-leading cause of death in the United States, is centered on a blue return symbol. Intentionally left open, it represents the drive for stroke survivors to come back strong and return to their former self, or a new normal. The reality of stroke survivors is a story of sudden and shocking loss followed by a return to hope for recovery. In the aftermath of a stroke, recovery is about getting back to normal life and living as independently as possible.
“Since my stroke in 2005, I’ve learned to walk again, talk again, even swallow again,”said Mark McEwen, former national TV morning show host. “As I got stronger, I got busy and discovered a whole community of stroke survivors and caregivers”.
“But throughout my recovery journey, there was always something gnawing at me. Whenever I saw a yellow wristband or distinctive ribbon, I thought, ‘Why not us?’ The Come Back Strong movement changes that. This, finally, is for us. It’s important and powerful, and will raise stroke awareness in a hugely impactful way”
There are several resources to help you support the cause:
• Stroke.org: National Stroke Association’s website offers resources and support survivors and caregivers can use as they learn to live with new challenges.
• Shop stroke: You can support the cause through purchasing bracelets and T-shirts, and participating in donation opportunities.
• Comeback trail events: Participate in a series of national events scheduled to rally the community behind the movement.
• #ComeBackStrong: Supporters can follow along and get involved in the movement by using #ComeBackStrong on social media.
For more information on Come Back Strong and to find resources for stroke survivors and caregivers, visit stroke.org or call 1-800-STROKES.