10 Facts You Should Know About Cataracts
There are many misconceptions about cataracts and cataract surgery. Armed with these 10 facts you should know about cataracts, you will gain a better understanding and be able to achieve the best possible visual results from your cataract treatment.
If you think you may have a cataract, E. Trevor Elmquist, DO, a leading cataract specialist in Fort Myers and Cape Coral, founder of Elmquist Eye Group, and one of America’s Top Doctors in ophthalmology as selected by Castle Connolly Medical Ltd, can provide safe and effective treatment that will improve your vision for years to come.
- Cataracts are the most common cause of blindness in the world.
According to the World Health Organization, 51% of worldwide blindness is caused by cataracts. This equates to about 20 million people. Another 54 million individuals suffer from moderate to severe visual impairment as a result of cataracts.
- There are several different types of cataracts.
The three primary types of cataracts are nuclear sclerotic, subscapular and cortical. Nuclear sclerotic cataracts, those that cloud the central “nucleus” of the lens, are the most common. Cataracts may also form after an eye injury (called traumatic cataracts) and after surgery for other eye conditions, such as glaucoma (called secondary cataracts).
- You don’t have to be a senior citizen to get a cataract.
Cataracts affect one in six Americans over the age of 40. By the time we reach 80 years of age, over half of us will have a cataract or have had cataract surgery. Cataracts can also occur among young adults and children.
- It is possible to be born with cataract.
Some babies are born with cataracts (called congenital cataracts). It can occur as a result of some infectious conditions in the mother during pregnancy, such as rubella, chicken pox, syphilis and cytomegalovirus, among other causes. Congenital cataracts can also result from genetic disorders.
- Diabetes and other factors can increase the risk of cataracts.
Individuals with diabetes are more likely to develop cataracts and to develop them at a younger age. Cataracts can also be caused by factors such as ultraviolet radiation (sun exposure), obesity, smoking, eye injury, high myopia, steroid medications and family history.
- The only treatment for cataracts is surgery.
Cataracts cannot be treated with medicines, vitamins or eye drops. Surgery is the only proven treatment. During cataract surgery, the clouded lens is removed and replaced with a customized, artificial lens called an intraocular lens (IOL).
- Cataract surgery is very safe.
Cataract surgery is one of the safest and most highly perfected surgical procedures in medicine, with a 95% success rate. Of course, as with any surgery, risks do exist and should be discussed with your Elmquist eye doctor before the procedure.
- Cataract surgery has a quick recovery period.
Most cataract patients notice an immediate improvement in their vision after surgery. Others will have a gradual improvement over time.
- Cataracts don’t “grow back” after surgery.
First, cataracts are not a “growth” that sits on top of your eye. They are the result of a build-up of dead cells. During surgery, the affected lens is removed and replaced with an artificial lens. Cataracts can’t develop on the artificial lens.
- A cataract cannot spread from one eye to the other.
Although cataracts can affect either or both eyes simultaneously, they cannot spread from one eye to the other.
Ask most people what they know about cataracts, and you will typically hear “eye problem” and “old people.” If, after reading the above 10 facts, you believe you may have a cataract, get in touch with Elmquist Eye Group at (239) 936-2020 and schedule an appointment. The Elmquist team will be delighted to help.