Cataracts are one of the most common eye conditions, especially among older adults. They occur when the lens of the eye becomes cloudy, leading to blurred vision and possibly vision loss if left untreated. Despite their widespread prevalence, many myths and misconceptions about cataracts persist, leading to confusion and unnecessary fear. We’ll debunk some common myths about cataracts and provide facts to help you better understand this condition.
Myths about cataracts
Here are 7 cataract myths, debunked with facts:
Myth 1: Cataracts only occur in older people
Fact: While it is true that cataracts mainly affect older adults, it is essential to note that cataracts can develop at any age. Younger individuals may also experience cataract formation due to genetic factors, trauma, certain medications, or underlying medical conditions. Therefore, regular eye exams, regardless of age, are imperative for early detection.
Myth 2: If we operate early, cataracts can come back
Fact: Cataract is a progressive disease of lens clouding that is removed through cataract surgery and replaced with an artificial lens (IOL). Once surgery is completed, cataracts cannot develop again. Very rarely, IOLs can have PCO formation that can reduce vision, but that is resolved by OPD-guided care. Therefore, once cataract surgery is performed, the patient cannot develop cataracts again, regardless of whether the surgery was performed earlier or later.
Myth 3: Cataracts can spread from one eye to the other
Fact: Cataracts do not spread from one eye to the other. However, an individual can develop cataracts in both eyes independently. Furthermore, the progression of cataracts can vary from eye to eye, requiring personalized treatment.
Myth 4: Eye drops can resolve or prevent cataracts
Fact: It is important to clarify that eye drops or medications cannot resolve or prevent cataracts. Although certain lifestyle changes, such as protecting the eyes from ultraviolet (UV) radiation and maintaining a healthy diet, can delay the formation of cataracts or slow their progression, surgery remains the only effective treatment for cataracts.
Myth 5: Cataract surgery is a risky procedure and should be postponed until absolutely necessary
Fact: Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed and safest surgical procedures worldwide. The clouded lens is removed during surgery and then replaced with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL). Complications are extremely rare and the benefits of improved vision and improved quality of life far outweigh the minimal risks associated with the procedure. It is advisable to consult an ophthalmologist to determine the optimal timing for cataract surgery based on individual circumstances.
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Myth 6: Cataracts can be remedied naturally using alternative remedies
Fact: It is important to emphasize that despite claims made by some alternative medicine, there is no scientific evidence to support their ability to reverse or cure cataracts. Cataract is a progressive condition that affects the clarity of the natural lens, and surgical intervention is currently the only viable option to effectively restore vision.
Myth 7: Cataracts can be prevented
Although cataracts cannot be completely avoided, certain lifestyle decisions can help lower the risk or delay their onset. Wearing UV protective eyewear, eating a healthy diet rich in antioxidants, quitting smoking, and addressing underlying medical conditions such as diabetes can all make a big difference in maintaining good eye health and potentially reducing of the risk of developing cataracts.
Keep in mind that regular eye checkups, adopting a healthy lifestyle, and seeking timely treatment from qualified professionals are crucial steps in effectively treating cataracts!