5 Common Cataract Myths Debunked

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June 2022

A cataract is a cloudy area on the eye’s clear lens. Although cataracts are extremely prevalent, they are one of the most misunderstood medical conditions. Cataracts are a normal part of aging, but they don’t have to get in the way of doing the things you love. Stay informed of your eye health to catch symptoms early and know your treatment options. 

Myth: Cataracts only affect seniors.

More than half of all Americans age 75 or older have experienced cataracts or undergone cataract surgery. However, age-related cataract issues can arise for individuals as young as 40. Cataracts often develop earlier in life, but symptoms aren’t noticed until later. 

Cataracts can also develop from reasons other than age. For example, cataracts can be a direct result of eye injury or poorly-controlled medical conditions like diabetes or hypertension. The disease can also form from certain medications or excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation.

Regular eye exams are crucial to pinpoint developing cataract symptoms, no matter your age. This way, you can catch cataracts early and avoid more significant damage later in life. 

Myth: It takes months to recover from cataract surgery.

Recovery time after cataract surgery is usually fast. Most patients report that their vision is improved in as little as 24 hours, and some return to work within one to three days after surgery. 

Your vision will continue to improve in the weeks and months following your procedure. Complete cataract surgery recovery often occurs within four to six weeks. Patients should avoid strenuous activity and heavy lifting during this time, but can resume their daily activities almost immediately. 

Myth: Cataracts can grow back after surgery.

Cataracts are simply the cloudiness of the crystalline lens inside the eye. This cloudy lens is removed and replaced with an intraocular lens when cataract surgery is performed. Fortunately, these artificial lenses are not capable of cataract regrowth. 

Some patients experience secondary cataracts following surgery, which is cloudiness caused by scar tissue on the back of the artificial lens. However, this issue is uncommon and can be resolved quickly with a quick laser procedure. 

Myth: Cataract surgery is painful and unsafe.

Cataract surgery is extremely safe and painless. It is one of the most highly performed surgical procedures in medicine, with a 95% success rate according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). Risks exist with any surgery, but Florida Eye Specialists has a team of highly-trained surgeons with decades of experience. We have performed over 75,000 successful cataract surgeries to date.

While patients are awake during surgery, most experience little to no discomfort. A mild sedative may be administered before surgery to calm the nerves, and eye drops are sometimes used to numb the eyes. The in-patient procedure is typically performed in under an hour. 

Myth: Cataracts are unavoidable.

While no studies have proven how to prevent cataracts completely, there are a few ways to minimize the risk and severity. In their earliest stages, consistent eye examinations can help detect cataracts or other eye problems. 

Practicing healthy eye habits can also reduce your risk of developing cataracts at a young age. For example, protecting your eyes from UV rays and modifying your diet can help slow their progression. It is also advisable to avoid smoking and unnecessary steroids.

Why You Should Schedule Your Annual Eye Exam

The best way to stay on top of your eye health is to see your eye doctor every year. They can assess your family’s health and vision history, additional risks you may face, and ways to protect your vision in the long run. 

Cataracts may not be preventable, but catching and treating them early minimizes the risk of losing your vision altogether. Even if you have good vision, scheduling an annual eye exam should be a top priority. 

Every year, hundreds of patients trust our team at Florida Eye Specialists to find solutions to their cataract needs. Schedule an appointment with our cataract specialists for a consultation or procedure today.