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6 Need-to-know Facts about Cataracts

Scrabble letters saying cataract

Cataracts are one of the most common eye conditions in Canada. So common, in fact, that you or someone close to you will probably develop it during your lifetime. This condition occurs when proteins cloud your eyes’ lenses, making it difficult to focus. The condition is manageable and easily treated. However, it’s important to know the following six facts.

  1. Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness According to the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB), cataracts are the primary cause of low vision and blindness in Canada. Cataracts affect more than 3.5 million Canadians. By the time you turn 70, there’s a 50-50 chance you’ll have cataracts.

  2. Anyone can get cataracts Cataracts are typically age-related and develop gradually over many years. However, anyone can get cataracts. Some forms are congenital, and children may be born with the condition. Cataracts usually begin to form at around the age of 40, but you may not notice vision loss for years.

  3. Not all cataracts require surgery Depending on your age and how advanced your cataracts are, you may not require surgery. It’s possible your optometrist will prescribe reading glasses instead. However, if cataracts start to interfere with your everyday enjoyment of life, surgery is an effective solution.

  4. Cataract surgery is quick and painless Ophthalmologists have safely performed cataract surgeries for decades. This simple procedure involves replacing your eyes’ natural lenses with artificial ones. Cataract surgery takes less than an hour, and you can get back to your routine in a day or two. There’s no need for a hospital stay. You’ll get a sedative and topical anesthesia to ensure you’ll feel no pain, but otherwise, you’re awake during the procedure. The surgery helps more than 350,000 patients in Canada every year with a success rate of 98 percent.

  5. Cataract surgery is free If you have a valid Alberta Health Care card, the cost of cataract surgery is covered by your provincial health plan. That includes the lens implant plus the doctor’s fees.

  6. Steps you can take to prevent cataracts To lower your risk of developing cataracts, you should: • Avoid exposing your eyes to UV rays by wearing sunglasses • Eat a diet high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals • Quit smoking and reduce how much alcohol you consume • Limit your use of steroid medications It’s also important to get an eye exam every one to two years. Early detection is a key component of a successful treatment plan.

Cataract Treatment in Edmonton

At Optometrists’ Clinic Inc., our experts are available to identify and treat eye conditions and diseases, including cataracts, macular degeneration and glaucoma. Contact us at one of our Edmonton-area clinics to learn more about managing cataracts or to schedule an eye exam.


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