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August 1, 1959


Author Affiliations

New York

From the Department of Ophthalmology, the Home for Aged and Infirm Hebrews of New York, and the Ophthalmology Service, the Mount Sinai Hospital.

JAMA. 1959;170(14):1621-1625. doi:10.1001/jama.1959.03010140001001

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The beneficial results of surgery were weighed against the risks in a review of 118 major eye operations on a series of patients from 65 to 94 years of age. Eighty-five operations were for cataract and 18 for glaucoma. Most patients had some form of circulatory disease, 19 had hernias, 16 had pulmonary emphysema, and 11 had diabetes. Nevertheless, there were only two deaths attributable to the operation. The declining years of many of these patients were immeasurably brightened by restoration of vision, which in some cases meant ability to carry on a reasonably self-sufficient and meaningful existence for many years without being a constant burden to others. Undue emphasis on the risks of operation can lead to the withholding of beneficial ocular surgery in the aged.