There are always myths floating around between friends and family when it comes to certain healthcare issues, and one of the more common areas of confusion tends to be about cataracts. Some people believe that cataracts are completely preventable while others hold on to exaggerated fears about treating them, but in reality, they are a very natural part of the aging process. Let’s take a quick look at why cataracts develop and uncover some of the myths and facts surrounding them.
What Is A Cataract?
Just behind the pupil is a part of the eye called the lens. It’s through this clear area that light travels to our retina and allows us to be able to see, but as people age, the lens tends to become cloudy. This process is referred to as cataract development, and it’s something that everyone will experience at some point in their lives.
Studies show that more than half of all Americans will develop cataracts by the time they reach 80 years old, but that doesn’t mean younger individuals needn’t think about them. A range of risk factors including smoking, diabetes, and long-term UV exposure can cause cataracts in younger adults and even in children.
In order to restore one’s eyesight and prevent cataracts from developing even further, ophthalmologists will perform surgery to remove them. This process is very straightforward and in most cases involves minimal discomfort and short recovery time.
Common Cataract Myths
A vast amount of people are under the impression that cataracts can be prevented, and that if they take certain supplements they will be able to avoid this natural occurrence. Among the most common beliefs are that large doses of Vitamin C or Vitamin E will keep cataracts at bay, and while some research may point to the accuracy of this, there still isn’t definitive proof. Large doses of aspirin are also rumored to help prevent cataract growth, but this should be discussed with your doctor first.
Cataract surgery itself also has its fair share of myths surrounding it, and many believe that the best time to get this procedure completed is right when cataracts develop. However, that’s not always necessary, as it can take a very long time before your lens clouds enough to the point where it affects your vision.
Another common myth about cataract surgery is that it takes months to recover from, is painful, and is also dangerous. This couldn’t be farther from the truth, as the technology used to remove cataracts is highly advanced. Ophthalmologists are able to remove the clouded lens and replace it with an artificial one, and sometimes utilize lasers to aid in the process. These techniques have been refined for decades and many are pleasantly surprised to learn how quick and easy cataract surgery actually is!
If you’re interested in learning more about cataracts and if surgery is right for you, schedule an appointment with your ophthalmologist today. The development of cataracts is a natural part of the aging process and with the right information, you can decide on an appropriate course of action that best meets your visual needs.