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You will get cataracts, unless…

By Joel Hunter, MD | 6/21/17 8:11 AM
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When I write these articles, sometimes I just start up on some subject I think someone besides me might find interesting. That someone is usually my mom, but if you’ve ever met Becky Hunter, then you understand why that alone would be a motivating factor. When I don’t have a specific subject, some of the people at Hunter Vision will contribute a topic. Since that’s a nice thing to do, I’ve made a commitment that I’ll write about whatever topic is placed in the Blog Cabin (an entity I believe I just made up, but now badly hope becomes a thing).

Today the topic that showed up in the queue had the title you see up there. Like you, when I first read it, I was frightened. And if it seemed threatening when you read the title, you should’ve seen how it was written originally, with letters cut out of different magazines and newspapers. But after some thinking, and with no demand attached on what I would have to do to avoid getting cataracts, I figured out what we’re supposed to talk about here. We all will get cataracts if the lens in our eye gets old enough. And since I’m now at least 60% sure this topic wasn’t contributed by a mobster, the idea isn’t to avoid cataracts by an untimely death, but to avoid cataracts by having a lens that doesn’t age.

As much as people wish there was a diet or a pill or an eye drop that could keep cataracts from forming, it just doesn’t exist. I’m among those who would be happier than I can say if that kind of prevention or cure for cataracts existed. I’d be out of a job in cataract surgery, but if the number one cause of blindness in the world was cured, I’d be the happiest unneeded cataract surgeon on Earth. We just don’t have a way to do it yet. The same thing is true of every suspiciously labeled miracle cure for cataracts you’ll find online and at organic food stores. They’re all either the product of ignorance or of greed. I’m always rooting for the former of the two, because it’s a lot easier to forgive.

At the current stage, scientific achievement can boast exactly one successful method of acquiring an ageless lens. The intra-ocular lens designed to replace our natural lens—usually made of very impressive specialty acrylic—is for all intents and purposes, ageless. If you get a lens replacement, then stumble upon the Fountain of Youth here in Florida, vindicating Ponce de Leon at long last, your new IOL will serve you perfectly well into your hundreds. This factoid was once only useful for people undergoing cataract surgery, but it is now relevant to a much wider audience. Refractive lens exchange uses modern technology to allow us to accurately choose different types of IOLs to replace the natural crystalline lens before it ages into a cataract. It aims at getting people out of reading glasses and bifocals, but because the new lens doesn’t age, it fixes a problem before it ever starts. The need for future cataract surgery is avoided entirely. You’ll never get a cataract if you’ve got a lens that can’t get cloudy.

With that sorted, we can move on to the next suggested topic when we meet again. I just checked and it’s going to be, “You’ll never see your dog again, unless...”

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