June is Cataract Awareness Month! Although we’ve already blogged about this topic before, I thought we’d take a look at some common myths around cataracts.

Myth: Cataracts grow on top of the eye.

Although cataracts do grow, they don’t grow on top of the eye – they grow inside the eye. More specifically, they grow inside the natural lens. There are different types of cataracts that grow on different parts of the lens, but it’s all contained within the lens.

Myth: Cataracts can be removed with lasers.

Lasers may be involved in the process of breaking up the cataract, but are not removed with lasers alone. Once the cataract is broken up into pieces to be removed, an implant is put in to replace your natural lens.

Myth: Cataracts can grow back.

Once the cataract has been broken up and removed, it cannot grow back. However, the reason behind cloudy vision returning after cataract removal is that the membrane holding the implant in place can become clouded with cell growth (posterior capsule opacification). This is removed with laser alone.

Myth: A cataract must be “ripe” before it can be removed.

With modern techniques, cataracts can be removed at any time. Although for the procedure to be mostly covered by health care, it has to affect your vision a considerable amount to be deemed “medically required”.

Myth: Only older people develop cataracts.

It is true that everyone will get cataracts if they celebrate enough birthdays; however, cataracts can form for other reasons as well. Diabetics need to watch out for fluctuating sugar levels that cause the lens to absorb more water than normal – diabetic cataract. Injury to the eye can cause a cataract to form as well. Congenital cataracts are present at birth that may or may not affect vision.

Myth: There is no need for glasses after cataract surgery.

Although this may be true for some individuals who opt for multifocal lens implants, it is not always possible. The surgeon will usually try to reduce any sort of prescription needed for distance with the implant. This is not always completely accurate or successful, so some patients may need distance glasses to see perfectly clear far away (but for the most part should be okay). If a multifocal lens is not implanted, glasses for reading will definitely be required for all near tasks.

These are a few common misconceptions. We’ll take a look at some others later on in the month 🙂

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