A photograph of a cataract.

Are you considering cataract surgery or know someone who is? It’s crucial to separate facts from fiction about this life-changing procedure. Debunking myths about cataract surgery will help you make informed decisions and alleviate any concerns you may have. Let’s dive in and explore the truth behind these common misconceptions.

Key Takeaways

  • Cataract surgery is a safe, low-risk procedure suitable for all ages.
  • Eye drops cannot cure or prevent cataracts. Only surgery can do that.
  • Customized treatment plans and advanced intraocular lens options are available to improve visual outcomes after cataract surgery.

Myth 1: Cataract surgery is only for older people

While age is a significant factor in cataract development, cataract surgery is not strictly reserved for the elderly. Younger people can also develop cataracts due to various factors such as genetics, injuries, or medical conditions. Certain diseases, including diabetes, steroid use, eye trauma, and excessive alcohol consumption or smoking, may result in premature cataract formation.

Modern cataract surgery replaces the cloudy lens with a clear one and allows correcting vision, making it a viable option for younger patients. Early detection and treatment of cataract symptoms can facilitate better vision and enhanced eye health for people across different age groups.

Myth 2: Cataract surgery is high-risk and complicated

Despite common misconceptions, cataract surgery is a proven and reliable method to address cataract symptoms. With a high success rate, this low-risk procedure has been proven to remove cataracts and restore vision, thus preventing vision loss. Modern cataract surgery utilizes advanced technologies such as Advanced Phacoemulsification to disintegrate the existing lens for safe removal, even in cases with previous eye surgery.

The Femtosecond Laser is employed to make incisions and soften the lens prior to extraction during cataract surgery, which helps prevent complications related to cataract formation. An intraocular lens is also implanted during the surgery to replace the clouded lens and effectively treat cataracts.

Debunking myths about risky and complex cataract surgery illuminates this procedure’s real advantages. By trusting in the safety and effectiveness of cataract surgery, patients can confidently undergo the treatment and enjoy improved vision without unnecessary fear or anxiety.

Myth 3: Eye drops can cure or prevent cataracts

The belief that eye drops can cure or prevent cataracts is one of the widespread myths about cataracts that need to be clarified. The only scientifically validated treatment for cataracts is surgical replacement of the occluded lens, which helps restore clear vision by removing the cloudy lens.

Although some research suggests that compounds like lanosterol and sodium selenite may disperse proteins causing cataracts, there is limited scientific evidence supporting the effectiveness of eye drops in treating or preventing cataracts. Consulting an eye doctor for a personalized treatment plan tailored to your specific eye health and cataract symptoms is advisable.

Myth 4: Cataract surgery recovery takes a long time

A prevalent misconception is that recovery from cataract surgery is prolonged. In reality, cataract surgery takes only about 20-30 minutes. Most patients can resume normal activities within a few days, and full recovery typically takes four to eight weeks.

Typical side effects of cataract surgery include gritty, red, and sore eyes. However, indications of a successful cataract surgery recovery include enhanced vision within a few days, abatement of grittiness and watering of the eyes, reduced blurred vision and double vision, and a diminution in redness or bloodshot appearance of the eye.

Myth 5: Cataracts will return after surgery

Cataracts cannot return after surgical intervention. However, some patients may experience cloudy vision due to Posterior Capsular Opacification (PCO). PCO occurs when the posterior capsule, the transparent membrane that retains the artificial lens in place after cataract extraction, becomes cloudy.

PCO can cause symptoms similar to cataracts, such as cloudy, blurred, or fuzzy vision, double vision, and glare or a halo effect around lights. Yet, differentiating PCO from recurring cataracts is key, as it can be treated with a laser to preserve clear vision post-surgery.

Factors that contribute to cataract development

Cataracts are permanent alterations to the eye’s natural focusing lens, resulting from the degradation and aggregation of proteins in the lens. Factors contributing to cataract development include:

  • Age
  • Genetics
  • Lifestyle habits
  • Medical conditions
  • Exposure to ultraviolet radiation

Substantial smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and certain steroid medications can contribute to cataract formation. Additionally, exposure to UV rays, prolonged reading, and blue light emitted from digital screens have been identified as potential contributors.

Recognizing and managing these risk factors enables individuals to pursue good eye health and possibly postpone cataract onset actively.

The benefits of modern cataract surgery

Modern cataract surgery offers numerous benefits, including customized treatment plans and advanced intraocular lens options to address specific vision needs.

Utilizing technologies such as Femtosecond Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery (FLACS) and Optiwave Refractive Analysis (ORA), modern cataract surgery ensures more predictable and customized refractive results, reduced reliance on corrective lenses, and enhanced visual outcomes for patients.

Customized treatment plans

Personalized treatment plans are key in providing each patient with the most suitable and effective surgical strategy for their unique needs. A meticulous eye examination prior to cataract surgery helps select the most optimal lens.

The patient’s overall health is taken into consideration by evaluating their medical history, current medications, and any existing health conditions. This information assists the surgeon in determining the most suitable surgical technique, anesthesia options, and post-operative care to guarantee the finest possible outcome for the patient.

Furthermore, the patient’s overall health may also affect the selection of an intraocular lens to be implanted during the surgery.

Advanced intraocular lens options

Advanced intraocular lens options allow for the correction of various vision issues, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. The surgeon will converse with the patient regarding the multiple IOL alternatives and suggest the most suitable option for their requirements.

Premium intraocular lenses, such as multifocal and clear lenses, can focus at both near and distance, eliminating the need for reading glasses in many cases. Blended vision, a technique where one dominant eye is focused for distance viewing and the other eye is focused at a near point, enables both distance viewing and reading without requiring continual reading glasses or contact lenses.

How to maintain good eye health after cataract surgery

Maintaining good eye health after cataract surgery involves adopting healthy habits, protecting eyes from sun exposure, and having regular eye exams to monitor overall eye health. Following cataract surgery, it is suggested to arrange for regular eye examinations at least annually or as instructed by your eye doctor.

Recognizing signs and symptoms indicative of post-surgery complications aids in securing prompt and appropriate care if necessary. In addition to regular check-ups, a healthy diet can be beneficial in supporting eye health and aiding in the healing process after surgery. Protein-rich foods, vitamins A and C, and whole, unprocessed foods can contribute to better eye health, while refraining from unhealthy fats, sugar, and salt is vital.


Debunking myths about cataract surgery is crucial in making informed decisions and addressing concerns about this life-changing procedure. By understanding the truth behind these misconceptions, individuals can confidently undergo cataract surgery, maintain good eye health, and enjoy improved vision. Embrace the facts about cataract surgery and step into a brighter, clearer future.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a downside to cataract surgery?

Cataract surgery carries potential risks such as damage to the back part of the lens capsule, disturbances in the gel inside the eye, or a need for further surgery if the cataract is lost into the back of the eye.

What is the most feared complication of cataract surgery?

Endophthalmitis, an infection of the eye which has a risk factor that increases with age and gender, is the most feared complication of cataract surgery due to its potentially devastating effect. Retinal detachment is another serious complication that may arise after the surgery.

What percentage of cataract surgeries go bad?

Cataract surgery has a success rate of 99 percent, so the percentage of surgeries that go bad is very low. However, patients should be aware of any pre-existing conditions and watch for any post-surgery complications.

Why is my eyesight getting worse after cataract surgery?

After cataract surgery, many patients experience blurred vision which typically subsides within a few days. However, vision imbalance (anisometropia) or posterior capsular opacification can cause impeded or foggy vision, while infection, an exaggerated inflammatory response, and hemorrhage could potentially worsen vision permanently. Furthermore, larger, denser and/or firmer cataracts are more likely to experience more inflammation.

Can younger people develop cataracts?

Yes, younger people can develop cataracts due to factors such as genetics, injuries or underlying medical conditions. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms and seek early medical attention.


  1. “Cataract Surgery: What You Should Know” – Mayo Clinic URL: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/cataract-surgery/about/pac-20384765
  2. “Cataract Surgery: What to Expect” – American Academy of Ophthalmology URL: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/treatments/what-to-expect-cataract-surgery
  3. “Cataract Surgery: Common Myths and Misconceptions” – Cleveland Clinic URL: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/17449-cataract-surgery-common-myths-and-misconceptions
  4. “Debunking Cataract Surgery Myths” – WebMD URL: https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/cataracts/debunking-cataract-surgery-myths
  5. “Cataract Surgery: Separating Fact from Fiction” – American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery URL: https://ascrs.org/patients/cataract-surgery/separating-fact-from-fiction


Photo graph of Dr. Conlon operating with loops on.

Dr. M. Ronan Conlon started his career in the field of ophthalmology at the same time as the development of refractive eye surgery in Canada. In 1996, he brought laser technology to Canada from Germany, which allowed him to perform laser eye surgery before it was available in the United States. With the establishment of the Conlon Eye Institute, Dr. Conlon has performed more than 40,000 refractive procedures and has advanced his expertise in LASIK and refractive cataract surgery.

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