3 Myths About Cataract Surgery Debunked

3 Myths About Cataract Surgery Debunked

Cataracts, a clouding of the eye’s lens, can rob a person of their clear vision. Fortunately, a quick surgical procedure can correct the problem.

At Omphroy Eye Care, board-certified ophthalmologist Dr. Luis Omphroy performs cataract surgery for our patients in Aiea, Hawaii, who develop this very common condition. 

We’re well aware, though, that a number of myths and urban legends have popped up surrounding the procedure. We’re here to debunk those myths and give you the facts you need to make an informed decision.

What is a cataract and how does it form?

Your eyeball contains a clear lens near the front that bends incoming light to focus it on the retina in the back of the eye; the retina then sends the information to the brain through the optic nerve.

A cataract occurs when the lens clouds over, making everything appear as if you’re looking at it through a fogged-up window. This loss of visual acuity can make it more difficult to read, drive a car (especially at night), or recognize facial expressions.

Most cataracts develop as a result of aging or injury; both change the tissue that makes up the eye's lens. Some inherited genetic disorders can increase your risk of cataracts, as can other eye conditions, previous eye surgery, medical conditions like diabetes, and long-term use of steroid medications.

As you age, the lens becomes less flexible, less transparent, and thicker, all of which cause proteins and fibers within the lens to break down and clump together, clouding it.

As the cataract matures, the clouding becomes denser. The cataract scatters and blocks the light as it passes through the lens instead of refining the focus. As a result, your vision becomes blurred.

Cataracts generally develop in both eyes, but they don’t always grow at the same rate, so you may have a difference in vision between your eyes.

Cataract surgery

Cataract surgery to remove the damaged lens is the gold standard treatment. 

Dr. Omphroy takes the clouded lens out of your eye and replaces it with a new lens called an intraocular lens (IOL). This restores your eyesight, and you may not have to wear glasses or contacts after surgery. 

Dr. Omphroy uses the CATALYS™ Precision Laser System for the process. Before he starts, he gives you drops to numb your eye and may also offer an oral sedative to help you relax during the procedure. You’ll be awake the entire time. 

Dr. Omphroy uses the CATALYS to create incisions and soften the lens to prepare it for removal. He then uses the state-of-the-art ultrasonic WHITESTAR SIGNATURE® PRO, destroying the old lens so he can remove it safely. He replaces any removed eye fluid with a saline solution to maintain your eye shape. 

Dr. Omphroy then places a new intraocular lens into the eye to restore your vision.

Myths about cataract surgery debunked

Here are three common myths about cataract surgery and the facts that prove them wrong.

Myth: Only older Americans develop cataracts

Fact: Cataracts affect more than 24 million Americans 40 and older, but they can also occur in children and young adults. Risk factors include:

Cataracts can also be present at birth, known as congenital cataracts. If they’re not treated, the child could lose part or all of their sight.

Myth: Cataracts can be treated with eyedrops

Fact: Surgery to replace the clouded lens is the only proven treatment for cataracts. They can’t be treated with medication, and there’s currently no FDA-approved medicine for the condition, although this is an active area of research.

Myth: It takes months to recover from cataract surgery

Fact: Most patients are able to see well enough to resume normal activities only a few days after having cataract surgery, and their vision continues to improve over the following weeks and months. 

More than 98% of surgeries are successful, but if there are additional eye problems, like glaucoma, the recovery time may take a bit longer.

Do you feel like everything you look at is a little bit fuzzy or is drained of color? If so, you may have developed cataracts. Omphroy Eye Care can help. To set up a consultation with Dr. Omphroy, give our office a call today.

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