Cataracts here in Eugene, OR are just like everywhere else, a rather common and easily corrected condition. Yet, there are some rather common misconceptions about cataracts and their treatments. Modern marketing plays into this a bit, but mostly the misconceptions come from years of myth-making around cataracts and how easily treatable they are
Our friends at The American Academy of Ophthalmology have put together a listing of some of the more common myths and the actual truth which we have adapted and discuss below.
Eye drops can prevent cataracts.
Absolutely not. Currently, there are no drops on the market that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration that prevent or delay cataracts. Nor are there products that dissolve cataracts. Cataracts are due to precipitation of proteins in your natural lens which clouds the lens and drops will not reverse this.
Close up tasks (like reading) make cataracts worse.
Again, no. Cataracts are not caused or influenced by how you use your eyes. They are caused by a buildup of proteins over time. Close tasks do often highlight the cataracts influence on these tasks, but they do not cause or enhance the buildup.
Cataracts are reversible.
Sadly, no. Cataracts are a result of the lens clouding as it ages, something which happens to the vast majority of people on the planet. While this process cannot be reversed, it can be slowed by taking care of yourself and your eyes by eating right, wearing sunglasses and not smoking.
Cataract surgery is dangerous, and the recovery time is lengthy.
While lengthy is a subjective term, the idea that the recovery time after cataract surgery takes months is ludicrous. In most cases, people are performing normal tasks the next day and are asked to refrain from strenuous activity for three to four weeks. Additionally, cataract surgery is one the safest and most perfected surgeries in medicine. Of course, any surgery has the potential of risks and your surgeon should discuss those with you prior to your surgery.
Cataracts can grow back.
No, and again here is just a simple misconception. While a secondary cataract may develop later (one different than the first), the first will not grow back. If a secondary cataract does develop it can usually be treated with a quick 15-minute laser surgery.
There are many misconceptions about cataract surgery and the treatment of cataracts. Keep in mind that the internet can contain misinformation repeated often enough to be presented as fact. Consult your primary eye care provider for confirmation of information and to discuss the truth about cataract surgery and cataract treatments. The truth is quite simpler than you might have been led to believe.
Source material and direct facts found at https://www.aao.org/eye-health/news/cataract-facts-myths