Common myths and facts around Cataracts
Myth #1 Cataracts can spread from one eye to the other
Fact Cataract cannot spread from one eye to another. It is the clouding of our natural lens, which happens after injury, with age, high blood sugars etc. However, it is common for both eyes to develop cataracts together or one after the other.
Myth #2 Cataract surgery should be delayed and done only when it matures or ripens.
Fact – This was true in the past when an ICCE surgery was done - an immature cataract would result in a less successful procedure. However, with the current latest microincision cataract surgery technique, all stages of cataract can be successfully treated. In fact, a mature cataract requires more energy than usual to remove and it is better to operate before the cataract matures.
Myth #3 Cataract can recur or regrow
Fact – Cataract means clouding of our natural lens. Cataract surgery removes this lens which we are born with and replaces it with an artificial one. Thus, it is not possible for cataract to recur.
Myth #4 ‘Safed motiabind’ and ‘Kala motiabind’ are related to each other
Fact – “Safed motiabind” refers to cataract which is clouding of our natural lens and “kala motiabind” refers to glaucoma which is weakening of the optic nerve due to high pressure in the eye. They are not related to each other most of the time. Most patients of glaucoma do not have a cataract and most patients of cataract do not have glaucoma. However, if cataract is allowed to progress too much, it may cause glaucoma.
Myth #5 Spectacles are never required after cataract surgery.
Fact – This is true only if the most advanced multifocal lenses are implanted during cataract surgery. With most lenses, there is some requirement for glasses for reading and/ or distance. Other lenses like toric lenses minimize the need for cylindrical power glasses for those patients who have been using such glasses prior to surgery.
Myth #6 Cataracts can be fixed with eye drops
Fact – Cataract is denaturation of protein- similar to making of cottage cheese from milk. No chemical can convert the cottage cheese back to milk, similarly no medicine can reverse cataract formation. However, a healthy lifestyle with a diet rich in antioxidants, no smoking or alcohol, limited exposure to the UV rays of sunlight (wearing UV protective glasses) and good blood sugar control can slow down the process of cataract formation.