Cataracts are a common occurrence among people all around the world; tens of thousands, to be blunt. Having cataracts puts a person at risk of vision loss, so we take the spread of information seriously. If you do not have a good understanding of cataracts, or how they are diagnosed and treated, there is a chance that you could inadvertently put yourself at risk for mismanagement. Here, we want to point out a few of the common fallacies about cataracts so you can avoid unnecessary frustration as you progress in your understanding of your eye health.
- You only get cataracts when you’re old. If you look at statistics, you will see that cataracts do, in fact, primarily affect people older than age 65. However, this does not mean that cataracts are necessarily an age-related eye problem. There is such a thing as a congenital cataract, which is present at birth. Also, general conditions like diabetes can lead to the early development of cataracts.
- Cataracts develop on the surface of the eye. Because the lens of the eye does sit pretty much front and center, we can see why many people perceive cataracts as growths. They aren’t. Cataracts describe the clouding of the eye’s lens, which occurs as proteins accumulate on this part of the eye.
- Cataracts can be removed. This is another common idea about cataracts, largely perpetuated by the term “cataract removal.” If you believe cataracts can be removed, you may be surprised when your eye doctor explains the procedure of removing the eye’s natural lens and replacing it with an artificial lens or IOL. To remove a cataract means to remove the lens.
- One cataract will lead to another. Some people believe that a cataract can be spread, like a virus or infection. Cataracts develop because the eye’s lens has formed a film of proteins within its structure (not on top). If both eyes develop cataracts, it is due to isolated protein buildup, not spreading.
- Straining the eyes can make cataracts worse. Most people with cataracts notice cloudiness more when they are reading or performing other up-close tasks. This does not mean that cataracts are worsened by those activities, though. Cataracts worsen only as a greater number of cells accumulate on the lens.
We’ve got offices in Reading and Melrose, MA, where we are happy to provide you with friendly care. Contact us to schedule your consultation for cataracts.