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Common Myths About Cataracts and Cataract Surgery

February 7, 2012

The truth behind common cataract and cataract surgery myths.

When it comes to cataracts, many people across the country have a certain perception of what this common eye disease is and how it is treated. For instance, most people have some understanding that cataracts typically affects people in their senior years and is a dangerous eye disease that can cause vision loss if left untreated. However, like with any medical procedure, there are certainly a lot of misconceptions that surround cataracts and cataract surgery.

To help clear up some of the other myths that are often associated with cataracts and cataract surgery, we have answered some of the most common cataract questions and myths once and for all:

MYTH:  A cataract is a cloudy covering that grows over the eye.

In the simplest of terms, a cataract is the clouding of the natural clear lens inside of the eye. The natural lens is mostly made up of water and protein, and is arranged in a way that keeps the lens clear and allows light to pass through so that we can see clearly. However, as we age, some of this protein can clump together and begin to cloud our lens.

Some people describe their cataract experience as looking through a foggy veil or a blurry window. However, other symptoms include declining vision, difficulty with glare, blurry sight and other visual changes. If cataracts are left untreated, over time they can begin to expand in size, making it even more difficult to see. At this point, surgery is usually required.

MYTH: Cataracts can be cured with eye drops or vitamins.

While some studies are beginning to look into the link between vitamins and cataract prevention, at this time, surgery is the only guaranteed cure and treatment for cataracts. Eye drops or other types of drugs will not help dissolve a cataract, nor slow its progress.

MYTH: Lasers are used to remove cataracts.

During cataract treatment, the clouded lens is surgically removed using ultrasound energy and is then replaced with an artificial lens implant. In some rare cases, the membrane behind the implant can become cloudy following cataract surgery. If that is the case, laser treatment may then be used to open up the cloudy membrane.  Only recently has a femtosecond laser bee utilized to aid in some of the steps involved in cataract surgery, such as the initial incision and softening of the lens prior to its removal by ultrasound.

MYTH: Cataract surgery is a dangerous procedure.

While cataract surgery is a very delicate, detailed operation, it is also one of the safest operations done today. The procedure is extremely quick and more than 99% of our surgeries are successful.

MYTH: Cataracts only affect older people.

While most people who are affected by cataracts will not usually begin showing symptoms until at least age 40, cataracts can also occur among young adults or children. Risk factors that can lead to developing cataracts at a younger age include certain diseases, hereditary influences, eye injuries, eye disease, smoking and more.

MYTH: Recovering from cataract surgery takes months.

Because cataracts are now removed under a local anesthetic, our patients are able to go home the same day without even weating an eye patch.  Most people only experience a minor discomfort following surgery. In many cases, our patients can see well enough to resume their normal activities the day after having cataract surgery, while their vision will continue to improve over the following weeks.

If you have more questions about cataracts and cataract surgery, or you are looking to have the procedure done, be sure to contact OCLI today. Using the latest advances in lens implants, including Crystalens, Dr. Silverman is able to restore clear vision to patients requiring cataract surgery. Individuals throughout New Jersey interested in Cataract Surgery can contact OCLI for more information or to schedule an examination.

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