Cataracts, if you have them, look like thin, milky splotches in your vision. They start out small, but can gradually grow to the point that they obscure your sight, and stop you from driving, reading, or doing the things that you enjoy. There are a lot of myths, however, about cataract surgery that keep people from treatment. Here are 5 common myths - and the actual truths - about cataract surgery.
Myth 1: Cataracts Can Be Treated With Eye Drops Instead Of Surgery
Surgery is the only treatment currently proven for cataracts. There are eye drops that are being developed to treat cataracts, but they haven't been tested on humans yet. Don't buy into the claims of commercially produced over-the-counter eye drops that are marketed as cataract treatments.
Myth 2: You Can Make A Cataract Stop Growing And Avoid Surgery
Some cataracts stop growing on their own, but most of them just keep building, eventually becoming blinding. Some people believe that you can stop a cataract from growing by taking Vitamin E, Vitamin C, or baby aspirin, but there is no conclusive evidence to support those ideas. It is known, however, that you can slow the progression of cataracts if you avoid smoking, limit alcohol, and protect your vision from ultraviolet light with sunglasses.
Myth 3: Cataract Removal Surgery Is Painful
Cataract surgery isn't painful and usually only lasts around 15 minutes. During that time, your surgeon will use an ultrasonic device to break up your eye's natural lens, which is where the cataract has formed. Then, the doctor will remove those pieces, and place an interocular lens (IOS) in your eye to replace its natural lens. You won't feel any of this. Afterward, you may feel like there is a little grit in your eye, but the feeling fades within a couple days.
Myth 4: You Should Wait Until Your Cataracts Are Nearly Blinding Before You Have Surgery
There is no reason to wait until your cataracts are advanced to have them removed. You can have cataract surgery done at any time after the cataract forms.
While cataracts aren't emergencies, they keep growing and will eventually harden, making it difficult for your doctor to remove. It's also possible that allowing cataracts to remain for a long time can cause increased pressure in your eyes, and lead to glaucoma. The best time to remove cataracts is when they start to interfere with how well you function, including driving and reading.
Myth 5: Cataract Surgery Takes A Long Time To Heal
Cataract surgery only takes a few days to heal to the point that you can resume reading, working, using the computer, and other normal activities.
New laser-assisted surgery uses technologically-advanced methods to map your eye and automates the most difficult parts of the surgery. This option gives you a better experience and even faster healing times than conventional methods. Also, since surgery is typically done on only one eye at a time, you shouldn't have any gap in time where you aren't able to see to get around and function normally.
Don't let fears about cataract surgery stop you from getting treatment for your cataracts. If your cataracts are causing you frustration, or limiting the way that you live - like causing you to stop driving after dark - it's time to consult with your doctor about having them removed.
For more information, contact The Eye Center or a similar location.