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 potentially causing vision loss if left untreated. Despite their wide prevalence, many myths and misconceptions about cataracts persist, leading to confusion and unnecessary anxiety. We will debunk some common myths about cataracts and provide facts to help you understand this condition better.
Myths about cataracts
Here are 7 cataract myths busted with facts:
Myth 1: Cataracts only occur in elderly individuals
Fact: While it is true that cataracts predominantly affect older adults, it is essential to note that they can develop at any age. Younger individuals may also experience cataract formation due to genetic factors, trauma, certain medications, or underlying medical conditions. Therefore, regardless of age, regular eye examinations are imperative for early detection.
Myth 2: If we do early surgery, cataracts can come back again
Fact: Cataract is a progressive disease of lens opacification that is removed through Cataract surgery and replaced with an artificial lens (IOL). Once the surgery is done, cataracts cannot develop again. Very rarely, IOLs can have PCO formation that can diminish vision, but that is cleared up through OPD-led care. Hence, once cataract surgery is done, the patient can’t develop cataracts again, whether the surgery was done earlier or later.
Myth 3: Cataracts can spread from one eye to the other
Fact: Cataracts do not spread from one eye to another. However, an individual can develop cataracts in both eyes independently. In addition, the progression of cataracts may vary between eyes, calling for personalized treatment approaches.
Myth 4: Eye drops can dissolve or prevent cataracts
Fact: It is important to clarify that no eye drops or medications can dissolve or prevent cataracts. While certain lifestyle modifications, such as protecting the eyes from ultraviolet (UV) radiation and maintaining a healthy diet, may help delay cataract formation or slow down 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 it is then replaced with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL). Complications are extremely rare, and the benefits of improved vision and enhanced quality of life far outweigh the minimal risks associated with the procedure. It is advisable to consult with an ophthalmologist to determine the optimal timing for cataract surgery based on individual circumstances.
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Myth 6: Cataracts can be reversed naturally using alternative remedies
Fact: It is important to emphasize that despite claims made by certain alternative remedies, no scientific evidence supports their ability to reverse or cure cataracts. Cataracts are a progressive condition that affects the clarity of the natural lens, and surgical intervention is currently the only viable option to restore vision effectively.
Myth 7: Cataracts can be prevented
Although cataracts cannot be entirely avoided, certain lifestyle decisions can help lower the risk or delay their onset. Wearing UV-protective eyewear, eating a healthy, antioxidant-rich diet, giving up smoking, and addressing underlying medical disorders like diabetes can all make a major difference in maintaining good eye health and possibly reducing the chance of cataract development.
Keep in mind that regular eye check-ups, adopting a healthy lifestyle, and seeking timely treatment from qualified professionals are crucial steps in effectively managing cataracts!