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When it comes to your health, it pays to have the facts. Myths just create fear and contribute to poor decision making. Here are 5 myths about cataracts and their accompanying realities. Use these facts to help you make the best choices for your health.

Myth #1 A cataract needs to be ripe before you decide to have cataract surgery.

Reality: A person should have cataract surgery when his vision is affected enough to interfere with his lifestyle. This may be blurry vision in the distance or when reading. Glare with sunlight or night driving is also a common symptom. Waiting until the cataract is ripe or mature would severely affect the vision and often makes cataract surgery more difficult.

Myth #2 Every cataract needs surgery immediately.

Reality: A cataract is the gradual clouding of the lens of the eye. Very often patients with early cataracts have little or no symptoms. As long as you are seeing without difficulty, you do not need immediate surgery. If you are being pressured to get surgery for your cataract, seek a second opinion.

Myth #3 Cataracts will grow back.

Reality: Cataract surgery will completely remove the cloudy lens from your eye. It will not grow back. What will commonly occur is a clouding of the membrane that supports the implant placed at the time of surgery. This cloudy membrane is called a secondary cataract, and that is probably where the confusion occurs. This cloudy membrane is removed with a simple one-minute laser procedure in the office, and once removed, it will not grow back.

Myth #4 Cataract surgery hurts.

Reality: As with most surgeries, some discomfort is normal, but most patients don’t experience pain. Cataract surgery patients receive sedation as well as numbing. Most report that the surgery was more comfortable than they imagined.

Myth #5 Once you start getting older, there’s nothing you can do to prevent cataracts.

Reality: Age can bring on a number of issues you never had to deal with before, including cataracts. However, you are not helpless in the face of them. Shading your eyes with sunglasses may help slow their progression. Likewise, some studies have produced evidence indicating that certain supplements may help slow the development of cataracts. Among them are lutein and zinc.