CATARACTS: IS IT POSSIBLE TO POSTPONE THE SURGERY?
Today, we talked with eye surgeon Arthur Benjamin on a somewhat unexpected topic.
Is it possible to treat cataracts without surgery?
When we talk about cataracts, the word “treatment” isn’t quite appropriate. It would be more precise to ask, “How do we deal with cataract symptoms using non-surgical methods?” The cataracts dispel light. And sometimes the dispersion isn’t so serious that you need an operation, but it’s still enough to distort your perception of the world. It becomes difficult and unpleasant at times to drive a car, especially when it’s dark – sunrise, sunset, or at night. The oncoming light hits the eyes, and all kinds of lamps and even traffic lights begin to get halos. All of this isn’t terrible, but it isn’t pleasant, either. As a result, people prefer to stay at home and not go anywhere, even without noticing, because they have to go into this “light hell”. They get bored, psychologically age, and their moods are depressed. They go to the nearest store and get glasses there, or even go to Costco, as a patient mentioned, and in the end see that the problem is still there. Then they come to us and say, “Give me LASIK or something! I want to see normal… or at least give me contacts.”
As I understand it, the scattering of light in these cases isn’t catastrophic, but the vision also isn’t corrected with lenses. So what’s going on, then?
These are cases where only correctly matched glasses and correctly designed lenses can solve the problem. 50% of success is the correctness of the prescription: your dioptrics, myopia, astigmatism… but that’s not all of it. It’s also the quality of performance, and not just in ophthalmology. Take a watch, a car, clothes – does it matter if they’re made well or horribly? The quality of the product depends on the quality of the material and the skill of the work. We had a real problem at BEI – after careful tests, we wrote glasses prescriptions for people, and then they come to us in new glasses with the same problems. Why? Because they got glasses with the correct prescription at the wrong places. They give them the wrong coating and wrong design. We got tired of it, so one fine day we decided to take the reins.
And how did that manifest itself?
We are now working with the three best laboratories. We have the newest lenses, most advanced coatings, and all the other parameters, of which you’ve already written about. And that’s why we can often improve the eyesight of those with minor cataracts, or sometimes even those with serious cataracts, but people for various reasons don’t want or can’t have an operation. All you need to do is spend a little more money than you would on ordinary glasses and thereby push the operation into the future.
Could it theoretically be postponed for a long time?
It depends on how the cataract changes in each specific case. There are always unknowns and variables. It’s understood that the surgical option is more effective, and the operation sooner or later needs to be done. There are no exercises or drops that can cure cataracts.
Oh yes, I know this myself – 15 years ago, upon learning that I had cataracts, I read about these magical drops successfully tested on dogs, and even ordered them. I just didn’t know that proper glasses could prolong the process. You are always on the front lines, so to speak. Is there anything else new?
There is. Science has discovered recently that some micronutrients have a beneficial effect on the retina, as well as with dry eye syndrome. But some vitamins are too big and difficult to take. We will soon have vitamins in powder form in our office, and you simply dissolve them in water for a pretty tasty drink.
(to be continued)