Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness around the world. Yet in spite of how common they are, many people still don’t know much about the causes, prevention, and treatment.
Some people mistakenly believe that cataracts only affect senior citizens. Some people believe that cataract surgery is dangerous.
This blog post will attempt to clear up the five most common myths about cataracts and provide clarity on the condition. If you have questions regarding this procedure, please contact the Nielsen Eye Center for more information or to request a consultation; our Patient Advocates will be happy to assist you!
1. Cataracts can spread from one eye to the other
It is a common belief that cataracts are a type of film that grows across your eye. So they mistakenly believe that if you get a cataract in one eye, it can spread to the other eye.
Cataracts do not grow across your eye; it is a cloudiness that gradually forms inside the naturally clear lens of your eye, causing (among other symptoms) blurred vision, fading colors, or difficulty seeing in low light.
Many people that develop a cataract in one eye do eventually develop a second one in the opposite eye. However, each cataract will have formed independently of the other – they did not spread from one eye to the other.
2. There is nothing you can do to prevent cataracts from forming
This is mostly true. There is no guaranteed method of preventing a cataract from ever forming. There are, however, steps you can take to protect your eyes and lower your risk of developing premature cataracts.
For instance, prolonged sun exposure has been shown to increase your risk of developing premature cataracts. To protect your eyes from sun exposure, we recommend wearing sunglasses and a hat while spending time outdoors. This will help to protect your eyes from ultraviolet rays and prolong their health.
In addition to protecting your eyes from sunlight, you should talk to your eye doctor about any medications you are taking and the associated risks involved. Some medications, like steroids, have been shown to increase your likelihood of developing premature cataracts.
3. Taking aspirin can prevent cataracts
This is a myth – there is no sufficient evidence to support the claim that taking aspirin will help in the prevention of cataracts. In fact, taking large doses of aspirin can have many other negative consequences on health.
4. Cataracts can be fixed with eye drops
This would be nice, wouldn’t it? Unfortunately, an eye drop solution does not exist at this time. Currently, the only effective treatment is cataract surgery. While there are no current alternatives, the procedure is extremely common, safe, and effective.
5. Recovery from cataract surgery takes months
This couldn’t be further from the truth! Recovery from cataract surgery is fairly quick. The surgery itself only takes about 30 minutes and most patients find the recovery time to be short, as well. Patients are able to return home the same day as their procedure.
If you are in the Greater Boston area and are living with cataracts, the Nielsen Eye Center can help provide the surgical guidance and expertise you need to explore what options are right for you. Call us at 877-373-2020 to speak with one of our patient advocates – they will get you set up with your cataract evaluation!