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You probably first learned about cataracts when you were a child in school. You learned that a cataract is a cloudy film that forms over the lens of the eye, and eventually causes blurred vision and blindness. But, how much more have you learned about cataracts since then?

If you’ve started to develop cataracts, or you’re at high risk for developing cataracts, you may have already started doing research on your own. Unfortunately, with the large amount of information out there, it can be difficult to discern facts from myths. Here are 5 myths about cataracts, debunked, that will help you better understand your treatment options.

MYTH 1: CATARACTS CAN BE DISSOLVED WITH EYE DROPS

A cataract is not a substance. Unlike a film of soap scum on glass, cataracts cannot be wiped away or dissolved, and the FDA has not approved any medication that can do so. Some companies may claim their products can dissolve cataracts, but this is not true. At this time, surgery is one of the best treatments for cataracts.

MYTH 2: PROGRESS OF CATARACTS CAN BE REVERSED

Once the lens begins to cloud, the process cannot be reversed by any treatment. Through cataract surgery, the lens may be replaced, but the existing lens cannot be made clearer than it already is. However, you can slow the process of cataract formation by consuming a well-balanced diet, limiting your exposure to UVA and UVB rays, and quitting smoking.

MYTH 3: CATARACTS CAN RETURN AFTER SURGERY

Cataracts are not formed by a growth on the lens. If they were, then treatment would be quite different from lens replacement. Because they are actually part of the lens itself, and occur as the lens’ cells die and build up, this is considered impossible. 
However, in some cases, a secondary cataract can occur on the membrane holds the new lens in place. This phenomenon is rare, but could be easily fixed with 15-minute laser surgery.

MYTH 4: ONLY ELDERLY PEOPLE SUFFER FROM CATARACTS

Yes, most cataract patients are senior citizens, but they are by far not the only cataract patients. Cataracts can sometimes develop in younger patients due to trauma, diabetes, and other eye disorders. Some cataracts appear as early as birth as a congenital anomaly.

MYTH 5: YOU CAN PREVENT CATARACTS WITH VITAMINS OR ASPIRIN

Some studies have shown correlations between increased intake of vitamins C and E with decreased risk of cataracts. These studies are by no means conclusive, and will not be for years to come. It doesn’t hurt to increase your vitamin consumption, but don’t expect it to prevent you from developing cataracts.

Also, there is a major lack of evidence for the efficacy of aspirin in preventing cataracts. Furthermore, taking too much aspirin on a regular basis can harm your kidneys and liver. Unless you’ve specifically been prescribed aspirin, avoid taking it on a regular basis.

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