Cataracts are one of the most common eye conditions that you can develop as you get older. However, there are a few misconceptions that contribute to significant misunderstandings about cataracts and cataract surgery. At Cavanaugh Eye Center, we believe patient education is vital to the success of our procedures and the happiness of our patients. Below, we have provided you with cataract facts so you can better understand the truth about the condition and surgical procedure.
Myth: A cataract is a film that grows over your eye.
Fact: A cataract is NOT a film or growth that covers your lens or eye; it is the permanent clouding of the crystalline lens inside the eye. This happens because, as you age, the proteins that make up your lens start to break down and clump together. When combined with your lens’ slower rate of cell turnover, the protein clumps make your lens cloudy and yellow and impair your vision.
Myth: Cataracts spread from one eye to the other.
Fact: Cataracts CANNOT spread from one eye to the other. While many people do get cataracts in both eyes, each eye develops cataracts independently of one another.
Myth: Medicated eye drops can dissolve cataracts.
Fact: Cataracts can’t be “dissolved” and there are no FDA-approved drops that can cure or delay cataracts. The only treatment for cataracts is to surgically remove the clouded lens and replace it with a clear artificial intraocular lens implant (IOL).
Myth: Cataracts only affect seniors.
Fact: Although cataracts are related to aging and are very common in older people, you can develop them at a younger age. In fact, people can have cataracts in their 40s and 50s but might not notice the effects until they grow larger and affect vision, which can take years.
People can also develop cataracts for non-age-related reasons. Some babies are born with a type of cataract called congenital cataracts, cataracts can be caused by medical conditions such as diabetes, a traumatic cataract can occur after an eye injury, and secondary cataracts are those that form after surgery for other eye conditions such as glaucoma.
Myth: Cataracts are inevitable.
Fact: While age-related cataracts cannot be prevented or reversed, practicing good habits can protect your eyes and preserve the health of your lens. Things you can do to slow cataract progression include wearing UV-protection sunglasses, eating a healthy diet with plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits, avoiding smoking and drinking, and getting a dilated eye exam every two years when you’re over 60, to help identify cataracts and other potential eye problems as early as possible.
Myth: Cataracts cause irreversible blindness.
Fact: Not at all! Cataract surgery is a very successful procedure and can help you regain clear vision in no time.
Myth: A cataract can grow back after surgery.
Fact: A cataract CANNOT return because, during cataract surgery, your eye’s original defective lens is removed and replaced with an artificial one. Some people may develop a lens capsule opacity (the thin tissue bag that holds the replacement lens becomes cloudy). This cloudiness can develop months or years after surgery. It can cause the same vision problems as the original cataract. The good news is that this is easily fixed with a minor procedure called a YAG laser capsulotomy, and is a permanent solution for this issue.
Myth: Cataract surgery is dangerous and painful.
Fact: Cataract surgery has come a long way thanks to technological advances. As with any surgery, risks do exist; however, cataract surgery is one of the most frequently performed and safest surgical procedures and has a 95 percent success rate. At Cavanaugh Eye Center, our cataract surgery is performed in an outpatient ambulatory surgery center dedicated to ophthalmic surgery with state-of-the-art equipment and well-trained nurses.
Patients experience virtually no discomfort during cataract surgery. In most cases, your surgery can be done with mild sedation and topical anesthetic to the eye using a numbing gel. For certain patients and for more difficult cases, a local block can be done that provides a deeper level of anesthesia. Both are safe and eliminate the risk associated with general anesthesia. If you have a block, a patch will be required for three to four hours. With the topical technique, no patch is required. Mild discomfort, foreign body sensation, or scratchiness for the first 24 hours is typical.
Cataracts Surgeon in Kansas City
At Cavanaugh Eye Center, we are dedicated to providing patients with the best vision care. Our team can help you get informed and feel prepared for your cataract surgery. We look forward to seeing you for your comprehensive consultation at our office in Overland Park and thank you in advance for trusting your surgical care to us!
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