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There’s more to cataract surgery than meets the eye

Digital EditionOphthalmology Times: August 2023
Volume 48
Issue 8

It is important that patients know cataract surgery is a routine, safe procedure that will improve their quality of life.

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When considering cataracts, it is important to place an emphasis on educating our patients about the signs and symptoms of cataracts so that they can not only be proactive with their treatment options but also feel comfortable asking questions.

Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness worldwide, and the leading cause of vision loss in the United States (U.S.). It’s estimated that about half of all Americans will develop cataracts by 75 years old, and today, more than one in six Americans over the age of 40 have already started developing cataracts. With the senior population living longer and life expectancies increasing, it’s estimated that the more than four million cataract surgeries performed annually in the U.S. will double within the next 15-20 years.

While all cataracts aren’t the same – they develop for different reasons and affect different parts of the eye lens – the outcome for the patient is the same. Patients who do not seek treatment for their cataracts are not only risking their eye health, but potentially jeopardizing their overall health.

If improved vision isn’t enough of a motivator for your patients, here are some surprising facts you can share with them so they can feel more informed regarding their decision to have cataract surgery:

  • Cataract surgery can allow patients to regain some of the independence they may have lost, and the anxiety/potential embarrassment of struggling with visions issues is eliminated.
  • Everyday activities like reading, driving, and watching television can drastically improve following cataract surgery, regardless of the lens option is chosen for surgery.
  • Cataract surgery can reduce the dependence on glasses making it easier for patients to resume their favorite hobbies or try something new.
  • Because cataracts can impair vision of differing degrees depending on the patient, cataract surgery can decrease the risk of falls as well as vehicular accidents.
  • Recent studies show that cataract surgery may reduce the risk of developing dementia.
  • Patients who undergo cataract surgery have a 40 percent lower mortality rate than those who opt not to have surgery because their vision is better. This allows them to avoid falling and tripping hazards, read prescription dosages accurately so they don’t over medicate and avoid hazards such as accidental burns.

It’s important that your patients understand that cataract surgery is a routine, safe procedure that will improve their quality of life. Technological advancements have significantly improved both the methods for removing cataracts and the types of customized lenses available.

Untreated cataracts will almost always continue to progress over time, causing loss of vision. And if left untreated for long periods of time, can eventually result in blindness, making day-to-day activities not only difficult but also potentially dangerous.

Don’t let your patients live their lives looking through a cloudy, fogged-up window.

David Litoff, MD:

Dr Litoff is the chief medical officer for ICON Eyecare.

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