Cataracts are one of the most common eye disorders, affecting millions of people worldwide. Cataracts develop when the eye’s natural lens becomes cloudy or opacified. They may eventually impair eyesight, making it challenging to read or drive, amongst other everyday tasks. Even though cataracts are common, there are still various myths and misconceptions about this eye condition.
Myth #1: Cataracts only affect older people
The notion that cataracts only impact the elderly is amongst the most prevalent myths. Although it is true that individuals over the age of 60 are more likely to develop them, cataracts can develop at younger ages. Certain factors, including smoking, alcohol consumption, extended exposure to the sun’s UV rays, previous eye trauma or the consumption of certain medicines such as steroid may increase the risk of cataracts occurring earlier in life.
Myth #2: Cataract surgery is risky and dangerous
As with any procedure, there will be some risks involved. However, cataract treatment in Singapore is generally a safe procedure with a high success rate and low complication rates. Known risks are minimised by having an expert surgeon perform the surgery, use of antibiotics and other medicines prior to and after surgery as well as good post-operative care. Tiny incisions are made in the eye during the procedure, and the clouded lens is removed and replaced with a clear intraocular lens that has been carefully selected to allow clear vision. This minimally invasive approach has helped in lowering complications both during and after surgery. The majority of patients have little to no discomfort during the procedure, and they are able to resume their regular activities within a few days. Most patients are also able to see improvement as early as the next day.
Myth #3: Cataracts are growths on the eyes
Cataracts are not really growths at all. A cataract essentially refers to an opacified eye lens. The proteins in the eye’s lens undergo changes with age. These proteins may start to deteriorate and congregate, which leads to the development of cataracts.
Myth #4: Cataracts can be cured with eye drops
Eye drops or other medications will not cure cataracts. Once a cataract has formed, surgery is required to remove the cloudy lens and substitute it with an artificial one. This is the only effective treatment for cataracts. During your post-surgery recovery period, your eye surgery doctor in Singapore will prescribe you eye drops but these are mainly for prevention of infection and reduction of inflammation to allow for optimal healing.
Myth #5: Cataracts will grow back after surgery
Fortunately, cataracts will not grow back after surgery. The natural lens of the eye that has opacified into a cataract is removed during surgery, and it is then replaced with an intraocular lens, or IOL. Once removed, cataracts do not ever grow back or recur.
However, some people, may experience blurry vision some months or years following cataract surgery and think that the cataract has recurred. The blurring of vision is actually most frequently due to a condition called posterior capsular opacification, or PCO, which can be readily managed. There is an alternate term, “after-cataract,” that is widely used to describe PCO. This may have contributed to the myth about cataract “re-growth” following cataract surgery.
There are many misconceptions about cataracts that may make one hesitate to seek treatment. It is good to know that cataract surgery has made tremendous advances in the last 20 years and is generally a safe procedure with excellent outcomes. Surgery to remove a cataract can restore eyesight and enhance one’s quality of life.
At Ava Eye Clinic, our cataract surgeon in Singapore can help you restore your vision and uphold your overall health and well-being. Book an appointment with us if you have any eye concerns.