Cataract Myths and Facts

26 November 2019

There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding cataracts. We believe the following myths are misleading and putting people off transformative surgery.

Common queries at consultations include patients believing their cataract has to be ‘ripe’ to be removed or that a cataract procedure is complicated with a long recovery period – the procedure is in fact very quick and straightforward. Some even believe that the eyeball has to be taken out to treat a cataract!

Our leading ophthalmic experts dispel the myths around cataracts:

Myth: You have to wait for your cataract to be ‘ripe’ to remove it

FALSE. You can have a cataract removed as soon as it is diagnosed that the symptoms are affecting your lifestyle. Avoiding delay means that vision can be restored sooner rather than later, and before your cataract is seriously affecting your day-to-day activities and driving.

Myth: A cataract is a film which grows across the surface of the eye

FALSE. In fact a cataract is the clouding of the lens within the eye, rather than something that grows across it. It is a very common condition expected to affect one in three people aged over 65 years.

Myth: I can still drive safely with cataracts

FALSE. As the nights draw in more and more people with cataracts will notice strong glare from car lights, faded colours and cloudy vision, which can make driving more dangerous. In fact this is a key time for people to be diagnosed, so if you are noticing these symptoms it may be worth a visit to your optician or optometrist.

Myth: I will still need to wear glasses after my cataract operation

TRUE. If you were wearing glasses for near and far vision before your cataract developed, you will probably still need to wear them after your procedure.
HOWEVER, outside of the NHS, you can ‘upgrade’ from a monofocal lens to a multifocal lens – such as Optegra’s Cataract Refractive Surgery – and have an opportunity to improve your near or far vision at the same time as removing your cataract. It is the exact same procedure, but with a more advanced lens.

Myth: Cataract surgery is complicated and means an overnight stay in hospital

FALSE. With the skills of the surgeon and the latest technology, this can be a straightforward, painless procedure for the patient and is treated as a day case. And no, the eye ball is not removed as some people think! The eye is gently held open and the procedure is typically performed with local anaesthetic eye drops and can take less than 20 minutes per eye. As such it is the most commonly performed elective procedure in the world.

Cataract treatment

Optegra is proud to offer a range of treatment options to people who are affected by cataracts. Our cataract surgery, available privately or through the NHS, simply removes your cataract to help restore your vision. Alternatively, our refractive cataract surgery not only removes your cataract, it also includes replacing your natural lens with a multi-focal lens meaning your dependence on glasses can be reduced or eradicated entirely.

Patients with private medical insurance who are having a cataract procedure may wish to ‘upgrade’ to the refractive lens exchange package, and the insurer may cover the cataract cost. Each insurer is different however, so it is important to speak with them before commencing your treatment.


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