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In 2011, Guo Liansheng was a 109-year-old who had been battling with poor vision as a result of cataracts – it got to the point where she could barely detect changes in light. Finally, she was taken to a Shanghai ophthalmologist, who recommended that she undergo cataract surgery.
There is no age limitation for cataract surgery. Although it is up to the individual cataract surgeon, if a person is in good general health and cataracts are impacting on their everyday life, cataract surgery is a viable option.
Cataract surgery is not an ‘elective procedure’ – for many people it is a sight saving procedure that allows them to return to functioning well on a day-to-day basis. Therefore, most ophthalmologists will do their best to find a solution for each and every patient.
Patients who have underlying issues such as diabetic retinopathy or age-related macular degeneration have conditions which coexist with their cataract and this may have implications for how the surgery is performed and what result can be expected. Other people who also have complex issues include those with:
These patients require consideration of their particular eye conditions and while cataract surgery should still be done, the patients’ expectations need to be consistent with what can be achieved.
Guo Liansheng is living proof that you are never too old for cataract surgery. In 2011, Dr Chu Tao of Shanghai New Vision Ophthalmic Hospital performed cataract surgery on her left eye, then on the other eye just in time for Chinese New Year celebrations. The operation was a success, and Liansheng has since been able to recognise her infant great-great-granddaughter’s face clearly for the first time. In the process, she also set a new Guinness World Record for the ‘World’s Oldest Cataract Surgery Patient’.
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