Asia’s senior citizens largely uninformed about cataract, survey finds

October 9, 2017

The Alcon More to See Survey, released in conjunction with the celebration of World Sight Day on October 12th, has found that most senior citizens are largely uniformed about the eye problem cataract.

The survey showed that 62% of Asians over the age of 60 believe cataracts can be prevented. When it comes to treatment, 44% believed cataracts should be fully developed before treatment. Age –related cataracts are a progressive disease, part of aging and can lead to visual impairment and blindness unless treated.

When compared to touch, taste, scent and hearing, 90% of those surveyed, people 60 years and older, see vision as the most important of the five senses. However when it comes to eye check-ups, many do not regularly see an eye care professional. Approximately 12% of those surveyed indicate they almost never see an eye- doctor/ophthalmologist; 19% of those surveyed said they almost never see an optician and 18% almost never see an optometrist. Alcon, the global leader in eye and vision care, is encouraging people 50 years and up to get their eyes checked annually.

“While lifestyle factors may impact cataract, it’s a progressive disease that can only be treated by surgery,” said Dr Wong Jun Shyan , Consultant Ophthalmologist, International Specialist Eye Centre, Kuala Lumpur,  Malaysia.

“Annual check-ups are very important for seniors and it worries us that so few are regularly seeing an eye care professional,”  he said.

Equally concerning is 44% of those surveyed believed cataracts should be fully developed before treatment. “Waiting isn’t the answer,” Dr Wong commented. “If you have any symptoms, including blurry vision, see an eye care professional and seek advice on how and when you should be treated.”

The majority of those over 60, 77% according to the Alcon survey, understand that cloudy vision is a symptom of cataract. Yet almost half (47%) could not name more than one symptom. Plus, 12% erroneously listed itchy eyes as a symptom.

Symptoms of cataract usually develop over time and can include the following:

  • Cloudy or blurry vision
  • Colours looking faded or yellowing
  • Light and glare sensitivity
  • Seeing “halos” around lights
  • Poor night vision
  • Double vision or multiple images in an eye
  • Needing to change eyeglass or contact lens prescription frequently

The Alcon More to See Survey was conducted across six markets (China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, India, Australia) in 2017. People surveyed were 60 plus years of age, a total of 400 respondents per market with a minimum of 50 respondents having undergone cataract surgery.

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