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Cloudy with a Chance of Blurry Vision
Canadians’ View Clouded on Understanding Cataracts
As we age, our eyes may change due to various eye conditions, which can affect our vision and ability to enjoy daily life. Two of the most common aging eye conditions are presbyopia and cataracts. Presbyopia is a gradual loss in the eye’s ability to pull the lens into shape affecting our ability to focus on close objects. A cataract is the clouding of the lens in the eye, caused from protein build up over time. Vision becomes increasingly blurry, making it difficult to see, affecting the ability to perform simple tasks and diminishing the beauty that life has to offer through one’s vision.
Currently 2.5 million Canadians per year have cataracts making it the most common age-related eye condition and one of the leading causes of preventable blindness. As a cataract develops, the eye’s lens becomes cloudy. Vison becomes like a Monet painting or like looking through a foggy window – colours fade, vision is clouded and blurred, and people experience sensitivity to light during the day and have difficulty seeing at night, especially during nighttime driving.
“Our eyes are our windows to the world and no two are the same,” says Dr. Kathy Cao, a Toronto-based ophthalmologist with the Kensington Eye Institute. “It’s so important that everyone is proactive about their eye health, visiting an eye care professional every year to protect their sight, especially if there are changes in their vision.”
As common as cataracts are, new survey findings show over half of Canadians are still foggy with their knowledge about cataracts. While the only treatment option for cataracts is the simple procedure of cataract surgery, there are options to consider ahead of surgery. In the survey of approximately 1,500 participants, among those who have cataracts, 59 per cent were unaware that there are lens options to treat cataracts and other vision conditions, including presbyopia at the same time; additionally, 43 per cent were unaware that there are different lens options for cataract surgery.
The survey, conducted by Leger, The Research Intelligence Group, was designed to examine the awareness of cataracts and vision health among Canadians between the ages of 55-79. It showed that seeing clearly is incredibly important to Canadians – 75 per cent prioritize clearly seeing the faces of loved ones, 69 per cent want to have the ability to see details and colours more clearly, and 66 per cent want to feel more confident when travelling the world as the top reasons for wanting clear vision. Yet, for those who have cataracts, 50 per cent say fear is a barrier to seeking treatment.
“We often hear from those living with cataracts that they are worried or nervous about cataract surgery,” says Dr. Cao. “While every surgery should be carefully considered, cataract surgery is generally safe and done on an outpatient basis, which means you go home the same day after surgery, and often start to notice vision improvements within a couple of days and may return to regular life activities shortly after.”
Before having cataract surgery, where an artificial lens will replace your natural lens that has become clouded, it’s important to talk to your eye care professional about your vision goals. There are varieties of different lens replacement options, with certain options that can treat multiple eye conditions at once. Choosing the lens that meets your vision and personal health goals could mean seeing the world in vivid colour with less dependency on reading glasses.
One lens option is the ALCON® PanOptix® Trifocal Intraocular lens, which provides superior vison at multiple distances to see everything near, far and in-between, allowing people to enjoy their hobbies, perform daily tasks and reduces their need for glasses. In fact, this trifocal lens provides the ability to see clearly at 60 cm, the preferred distance for intermediate tasks such as working at a computer or reading on handheld devices.
To learn more about cataracts, cataract surgery and lens options, visit your eye care professional to receive a comprehensive eye exam and visit SeeTheFullPicture.ca. To help guide the discussion with your eye care professional, download a discussion guide here.