Cataracts are one of the leading causes of vision loss and blindness worldwide. This eye disease affects most adults by the time they reach their mid-70s, but it is highly curable through cataract surgery. At Bochner Eye Institute, Dr. Raymond Stein has helped many people eliminate cataracts and improve their vision with intraocular lens implants (IOL). There have been many myths about cataracts throughout the centuries when doctors were still using medieval methods to remove the clouded lens or push it out of the field of vision. Some of these misconceptions continue today.
Myth 1: Only “Old People” Develop Cataracts
While it is true that millions of people over the age of 40 have cataracts, you can develop this eye disease as a young adult or child. You may have an increased risk of cataracts if you’re prone to eye infections, take steroids or cancer medication long-term, experience an eye injury or are exposed to too much radiation, heat or UV light. Some medical conditions can cause cataracts to develop earlier in life, such as diabetes, arthritis and metabolic disorders. Smokers, nearsighted people or those with a family history of cataracts may develop them sooner.
Myth 2: Lifestyle Changes can Prevent Cataracts
There’s no proven way to prevent cataracts. This eye disease causes the proteins inside your eye’s natural lens to clump together and cause blurry, clouded vision. You may be able to slow the formation of cataracts with a healthy, balanced diet, quitting smoking and wearing sunglasses that protect you from UV light rays. Researchers are investigating whether there is a link between cataract prevention and certain vitamins, but there is no evidence yet. A similar myth involves taking aspirin to prevent cataracts, but this can damage your health as large doses of aspirin are harmful.
Myth 3: You Need to Wait for Cataract Surgery
Cataract surgery is elective surgery, and it is your choice when and if you have the procedure. In the past, most people waited until the cataract was “ripe” or caused severe vision problems to undergo cataract surgery, but this isn’t the case anymore. Today, more cataract patients choose to have the procedure before vision becomes impaired because it reduces the risk of injuries or falls due to poor vision, and because premium IOLs can correct refractive errors, eliminating need for contact lenses and glasses. Cataract surgery recovery tends to be easier the earlier you have the procedure.
Most people need to have cataract surgery when significant vision loss interferes with their everyday life, such as their ability to drive.
Schedule Your Eye Exam at Bochner Eye Institute in Toronto
If you’re experiencing vision changes or it’s time for your annual eye exam, contact Dr. Stein at Bochner Eye Institute today to schedule your appointment at our Toronto, Ontario office.