Myths and Facts About Cataracts

Myths and Facts About Cataracts

Cataracts are one of the most common visual-impairment issues in the United States, affecting nearly 25 million people aged 40 and over. While cataracts are prevalent, there’s still some misinformation out there about the eye disease, and we want to present you with the facts.

At Vision and Ortho-K Center, our team of top-notch optometrists, led by Dr. Curtis Frank, specializes in lens disorders like cataracts, and we’re here to help you preserve your vision.

To accomplish this, we believe education is key, so we present a few myths and facts about cataracts.

Cataracts only affect older people

This statement is largely true, but not entirely. Your risk for developing cataracts increases in lockstep with your age starting at about 40. In your 40s, your risk for cataracts is well below 10%, but this number rises with each decade. By the time you reach 75, your risk increases to 50%.

While the clouding of the lenses that’s the hallmark of cataracts is a normal part of the aging process, younger people can develop the problem under unique circumstances, such as trauma to the eye or a congenital issue (being born with cataracts).

Cataracts can affect all people, regardless of race

True. Here again, cataracts can develop in people of all races, but White people are more prone to the condition. To illustrate this point, nearly 19% of White people over the age of 40 have some degree of cataracts, compared to 13% of Black people and nearly 12% of Hispanic people.

Cataracts develop equally in men and women

This statement is false, as cataracts develop more often in women. Of the cases of cataracts in the United States, women represent 61% compared to 39% of men.

Cataracts can’t be prevented

This statement is not cut and dry. While cataracts are largely age-related, the condition is by no means inevitable. If you fall into a high-risk group, such as being an older White female, you can still protect your eyes by shielding them from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. While this measure may not completely prevent cataracts, it can go a long way toward slowing its development.

Cataracts are irreversible

This statement is true. Once the clouding in the lenses in your eyes develops, there’s no way we can reverse the problem.

Cataracts require surgery

This may be true at some point. During the early stages of cataracts, there’s much we can do with specialized lenses to improve your vision, which means you don’t necessarily require surgery. But as your cataracts progress, surgery might be your best option. 

The good news is that cataract surgery delivers an impressive 99% success rate in restoring vision.

If you have more questions about cataracts, please contact our office in Boston, Massachusetts, to learn more.

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