Millions of Americans are diagnosed with cataracts. The condition cannot be prevented, but today’s diagnostic tools and treatment options led to early detection and improved outcomes compared to past patient options. Unfortunately, patient education is an area that has not evolved, and many myths still exist.
Myth #1: Treatment Can Stop Cataracts
Having cataracts means that the lens of your eye has clouded with age. This is a normal process that occurs in the body. Our cells regenerate at a slower pace, and in the eye, this means that the dying cells on the lens are not replaced with new, healthy cells. The effect is largely related to genetics, so you have little to no control over the changes to your eyes. What you can do, though, is make some lifestyle changes that may slow the progression of cataracts, such as protecting your eyes when outdoors, eating better and not smoking.
Myth #2: Cataracts Mean Giving Up My Favorite Activities
The connection between doing close-up tasks and cataracts is the foundation of a common myth of cataracts. We believe that it is related to how cataracts are more noticeable when you perform these types of tasks. Doing crosswords, reading and partaking of other similar types of activities do not cause or worsen cataracts. You can continue to enjoy your hobbies and pastimes.
Myth #3: Eye Drops are the Solution for Cataracts
We meet with people every day that tell us about eyedrops that they have used for cataracts and are unhappy with the results. Because cataracts are the result of the natural aging process, eye drops and other medications cannot prevent or treat cataracts. Screenings and early treatment help to minimize the changes to your vision.
Myth #4: Cataracts Come Back After Treatment
For patients with advanced cataracts that significantly interfere with vision, the most effective treatment is cataract surgery. The procedure involves replacing the natural lens that is clouded with an implant. Because the implant is synthetic, it does not suffer from the effects of aging. Some patients do develop cloudy vision after the surgery, but this occurs on the membrane over the implant. The cloudiness can be easily treated with a quick laser treatment.
Myth #5: Surgery for Cataracts Has More Risks Than Benefits
Any type of surgical procedure has risks, but cataract surgery is amongst the most effective and safest procedures. With proper aftercare that includes following post-surgical instructions very carefully, patients enjoy significant benefits and unwanted side effects are very rare.