Cataracts are common, and cataract surgery is one of the most frequently performed surgical procedures in the United States. But myths about cataracts still remain.
Myth 1: A cataract is a film that grows on the front of the eye.
Actually, a cataract is the clouding of the lens inside the eye that is located behind the iris (colored part of the eye) and pupil. The eye's natural lens consists primarily of water and protein. When something affects the normal arrangement of protein in the lens, the lens becomes cloudy and causes blurry vision.
Myth 2: Only older people get cataracts.
Though the risk for the most common type of cataract increases as we get older, cataracts can occur at any age -- even among children. Cataracts developing at an early age can be caused by heredity, certain diseases and medications, eye injuries or disease, and more.
Myth 3: There is nothing you can do to prevent cataracts.
You may not be able to prevent some types of cataracts -- such as those caused by an eye injury -- but you can reduce your risk of some of the more common types by choosing a healthful diet, protecting your eyes from the sun's UV rays, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding smoking.
Myth 4: Cataracts cause blindness.
While it's true that cataracts can cause severe vision loss and even blindness if left untreated, in most cases vision can be fully restored by cataract surgery. In fact, people who have needed prescription eyeglasses most of their life often see better without glasses after cataract surgery.
Myth 5: Cataracts have to be fully developed, or "ripe," before they can be removed.
Cataracts can be removed at any stage. Generally, the best time to have cataract surgery is when you begin to notice vision problems from your cataracts. Waiting until you already have significant vision loss is unnecessary, and it can even be dangerous, such as when you're driving.
Myth 6: Cataract surgery is dangerous.
Modern cataract surgery is one of the safest operations performed today. More than 95% of cataract procedures are successful, and fewer than 5% of patients have complications such as inflammation, bleeding, infection, and retinal detachment, according to Prevent Blindness America. In most cases, no stitches are required and it's safe to return to work after a day's rest.
Myth 7: You have to wear glasses full-time after cataract surgery.
Many people need only reading glasses afterward. And if you choose a multifocal intraocular lens (IOL) for your procedure, it's possible you will be glasses-free most of the time. To determine the best solution for your particular needs, be sure to discuss the many types of IOLs available for cataract surgery with your eye doctor.
Information provided by allaboutvision.com
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.