Many eye care professionals have been making efforts to educate the public about cataracts, as it appears that they remain a largely misunderstood vision problem. In fact, last year a large vision care center, www.cutarellivision.com, conducted a study in which they interviewed a thousand adult men and women to find out what they knew, or what they thought they knew about cataracts, and the findings were alarming. Of the people interviewed for the study, only ten percent of them had a clear idea of what cataracts were. Almost half of the people interviewed stated that they were not sure what cataracts were but they knew they were something that you could get with old age. Finally, the survey revealed that only twenty of the people spoken to had been checked for cataracts in their lifetime. At the conclusion of the survey it was very clear to the vision center that a serious lack of knowledge about cataracts exists among adults in this country. In the following reading we will highlight some of the most common misconceptions about cataracts and cataracts treatment.
Perhaps the single most common misconception people have concerning an operation for people with cataracts is that the chances of success are low. Thirty years ago it would have been true to see cataract surgery as a risky, and not very likely to succeed operation. Things have changed a great deal over the last thirty years, and the success rate for cataract surgery today is nearly 85 percent. Cataract surgery has become a reliable and safe way for getting rid of cataracts. It may be the fact that people still live with the idea that cataract surgery is so dangerous which causes some people who might need surgery to not even seek a consultation with their optometrist. The public needs to be educated about the amazing possibility which cataract treatments may offer, so more people will seek the treatment that could save their vision.
Another dangerous and totally false idea is that only older people can have cataracts. From the survey above we mentioned that one of the most common statements made by the people interviewed was that cataracts were something that affects the elderly only. In fact, a person can be born with cataracts and develop them at any point during their lifetime. It is true that cataracts are more common among older people because they can often develop along with diabetes, that doesn’t mean that young people can’t be affected as well. It is estimated that around half of all people living with cataracts are below the age of 35, but that only a small percent of the population that actually has cataracts and has been diagnosed with them is younger than 60. The very real problem with young people believing that they are immune to cataracts is that cataracts get worse over time and harder to treat. A cataract which is detected within the first year of development can often be treated without surgery, while those caught later on are more difficult. People need to understand that anyone can have cataracts.