Debunking The Biggest Myths About Cataracts & Cataract Surgery
Cataracts are the clouding of the eye’s normally clear lens. The lens is responsible for helping the eye to focus light, so when it becomes clouded due to a cataract, the person’s vision becomes compromised. As cataracts progress, they can greatly impact one’s quality of life.
In Canada, cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss and they affect more than 2.5 million Canadians over the age of 40.1 This is what makes cataract surgery such a common yet important procedure. At Cataract MD, our experienced surgeons perform thousands of cataract surgeries every year in our many locations across Quebec.
Although it’s one of the most common conditions, especially in aging populations, there exist many myths about cataracts and cataract surgery. Not only does cataract surgery have a track record of safety, but it’s also a vision-saving procedure, as cataracts are the leading cause of preventable blindness across the world.
For anyone with cataracts who may need surgery, knowing fact from fiction is essential. Below, we debunk some of the most common misassumptions about cataracts and cataract surgery so you can take charge of your eye health.
Myth 1: Cataract surgery is a dangerous procedure.
Fact: cataract surgery is generally very safe. The majority of patients don’t experience complications, and in rare instances in which they do, they’re often minor and treatable. Conversely, leaving a cataract untreated can lead to vision loss and even total blindness.
Myth 2: Cataract surgery is a long and painful procedure.
Fact: cataract surgery is typically a quick procedure. It usually takes around 10 to 15 minutes per eye. Moreover, most patients feel little to no pain during the procedure. Local anesthesia is used to numb the eye beforehand to minimize potential discomfort.
Myth 3: The recovery from cataract surgery takes a long time.
Fact: the recovery period after cataract surgery is usually short. Most patients notice an improvement in their vision within a day or two of the procedure, though complete healing and stabilization can take a few weeks.
It's essential to follow your doctor's instructions regarding eye care, medications, and activity restrictions during the recovery period. Remember, every individual's healing process is unique, so it's important to be patient and not rush the recovery. At Cataract MD, our clinical staff will be with you every step of the way, including post-surgery to monitor your eyes as they heal.
Myth 5: Cataracts will grow back after surgery.
Fact: cataracts don’t grow back once they have been removed during surgery. In some rare cases, the lens capsule (which supports the artificial lens implant) can become cloudy within months or years of the surgery. This is called posterior capsule opacification (PCO) or secondary cataracts and can cause vision to become hazy. Fortunately, PCO can be easily treated with a laser procedure called YAG laser capsulotomy, which is typically quick and painless.
Myth 6: Cataracts only happen to seniors.
Fact: anyone can develop a cataract, regardless of age. Though the risk of cataracts increases with age and this eye condition is more common in the elderly, cataracts can occur at any age. They can even be present at birth – this is known as a congenital cataract. Other causes of cataract formation include uncontrolled diabetes, trauma, ocular inflammation, steroid intake, drug toxicity, and various medical conditions.
Myth 7: Cataracts can be cured through exercise, diet changes, and eye drops.
Fact: lifestyle changes alone cannot completely cure a cataract; only removing the cataract through surgery can. Exercise, avoiding smoking, wearing sunglasses, and a healthy diet rich in antioxidants have been shown to slow down the progression of cataracts, but they alone are not a cure.
In the early stages, mild cataract symptoms can be managed without surgery by using anti-glare eyeglasses and magnifying lenses. But once a cataract begins interfering with your everyday activities (such as driving, reading, or playing sports) surgery is the most effective treatment option.
Remember, the earlier a cataract is detected, the better. At Cataract MD, we offer free, no-obligation comprehensive eye examinations to determine if you’re a candidate for cataract surgery. We’ll discuss all your options and address any questions or concerns you have about cataract surgery. Book a free consult today
1 Buffie, Nicole. “Cataracts Can Happen to Anyone, Here’s How to Protect Your Eyes - National.” Global News, 7 June 2023, globalnews.ca/news/9752425/cataracts-how-to-protect-eyes/#:~:text=A%20recent%20survey%20by%20the,the%20lens%20in%20the%20eye.