FAMILY FEATURES – If you’re over 40 years old, you may have noticed your vision getting worse – maybe you need a light when reading or have trouble driving at night. What is often shrugged off as another unavoidable part of aging could be a sign of something that can be quickly and safely resolved – cataracts.
According to research by the Kellogg Eye Center at the University of Michigan, most people will get cataracts at some point in their lives, yet misconceptions exist around what they are and the treatment options available.
“Many people think worsening vision is a natural sign of aging and it’s something they just have to learn to live with,” said Dr. Daniel Chang, ophthalmologist at Empire Eye and Laser Center. “I tell my patients it doesn’t have to impact your daily life, there are treatment options, and you don’t have to suffer. Cataract surgery is both safe and effective with an extremely high success rate of improving vision.”
In honor of Cataract Awareness Month, below are myths associated with this common condition:
Myth: A cataract is a rare condition where a film grows over the eye.
Fact: Cataracts are far from rare, impacting more than 90% of people by the age of 65, according to University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center. Rather than something growing over your eyes, cataracts are a clouding of the eye’s natural lens. According to Chang, a healthy lens is made of water and proteins, and is clear so light can pass through it. With age and certain conditions, these proteins start to clump together, leading to blurry or foggy vision.
Myth: Cataracts can be reversed.
Fact: Cataracts are fixed by surgically removing the clouded lens and replacing it with a permanent, artificial lens known as an intraocular lens (IOL), which can restore or even improve vision.
“Advanced IOLs can also help widen your range of vision and correct presbyopia (age-related near-vision loss) at the time of surgery,” Chang said. “For example, the TECNIS Synergy™ IOLs may even reduce the need for glasses after surgery.”
Myth: Cataract surgery is risky and results take time.
Fact: Cataract surgery is one of the most common procedures performed in the United States with a success rate of around 98%, according to the VisionAware campaign from the American Printing House for the Blind. The surgery is quick – with each eye taking approximately 15 minutes, according to Johnson & Johnson Surgical Vision.
“After the surgery, you can typically go back to your daily low-impact activities – with the exception of driving – after 24 hours,” Chang said.
If you are experiencing cataracts symptoms, talk to an eye doctor to determine if surgery is right for you. To learn more or find an ophthalmologist near you, visit beyondcataracts.com.
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