HONG KONG, Nov. 28, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Cataracts are one of the most common eye diseases in Hong Kong and are the main cause of blindness.1 However, most people in Hong Kong do not fully understand cataracts, and treatment options are often misunderstood. Recently, a cataract awareness survey was conducted by an international research agency in Hong Kong to look at public understanding of cataracts and provided insights on how the condition and treatment impacts the daily lives of patients.
The survey was conducted in August 2017, engaging more than 300 Hong Kong people aged 55 and older. Among which, over 100 respondents are cataract patients. Key findings include:
- Over 81% of Hong Kong adults are not aware that total vision loss due to cataract can be regained after surgery.2
- Cataract patients in Hong Kong report becoming depressed (32%)3 and losing their self-esteem (30%)3. In addition, 51% report suffering from injuries/accidents due to their condition.3
- Nearly 80% of respondents believe they need to wait for the cataract to ‘mature’ before going for surgery,11 and in fact, over 50% of respondents who had cataract surgery in Hong Kong delayed for more than two years before undergoing surgery.4
- More than half of adults in Hong Kong (54%) are not aware that cataract surgery can also correct astigmatism and presbyopia.5
- Since their surgery, the majority of respondents who had cataract surgery (84%) have become considerably happier because they are able to do more things (52%);6 feel more useful (48%)6 and self-confident (39%);6 and experience a sense of relief that their family does not have to worry about them (58%).6
Cataracts are the leading cause of preventable blindness, but understanding of the disease is low
Cataracts are responsible for 51% of world blindness, and as people in the world live longer, the number of people with cataract is anticipated to grow.7 In Hong Kong, the prevalence of cataract is about 1 in 5 in the 65 to 74 age group, and 3 in 4 in those older than 85.8
Despite the high prevalence of cataracts, most people in Hong Kong do not fully understand cataracts, their risk factors, and symptoms. Around 31% of people think that cataract can spread from an eye to another.2 In addition, respondents do not realise that trouble seeing well at night, seeing bright colours as faded or with yellowish or brownish tint, and needing more light to read are also symptoms of cataracts.9
Although the general public perceives blindness to be worse than having cancer or AIDS/HIV,10 but they misunderstand about the right time to have cataract surgery. Nearly 80% of respondents believe they need to wait for the cataract to ‘mature’ before going for surgery,11 and more than half of the cataract patients delayed for more than two years before undergoing surgery.4 The burden, however, is more than physical.
Cataracts have social and emotional impact on patients’ lives
The social and emotional impact that this condition can have on everyday activities and quality of life cannot be ignored. The Cataract Awareness Survey found that cataract patients in Hong Kong report becoming depressed (32%)3 and experience a loss of self-esteem (30%).3
While seeking treatment may feel intimidating, cataract patients should talk to their doctors as soon as symptoms appear. Cataract treatment involves surgically removing the clouded lens and implanting an intraocular lenses (IOL)12 – a simple procedure that is usually painless, with most patients able to see normally the next day.12
Extended range of vision IOLs offer continuous range of vision at all distances and can also correct presbyopia
Traditionally, cataract patients relied on monofocal (single focus) or bifocal (double focus) IOLs which only allow good vision at restricted distances, which meant that patients may still require glasses post-surgery. The extended range of vision IOLs provide cataract patients with high quality continuous range of vision at all distances — including far, intermediate, near distances and points in between.
Additionally, age-related long sightedness, known as presbyopia, is a common vision disorder that cataract patients suffer from simultaneously. Traditional IOLs offer limited functions and restrict vision dynamics. The extended range of vision IOLs not only offer high-quality vision at all distances, but also mitigate the effects of presbyopia for patients with or without astigmatism.
The benefits of seeking treatment go beyond the procedure itself. Around 84% of respondents who had cataract surgery in Hong Kong have become considerably more happy as they get to do more things (52%),6 feel useful (48%),6 and become more self-confident (39%).6 In addition, they are relieved that their family does not have to worry about them anymore (58%).6
It is important to encourage elderly people to go for their regular eye check-ups and discuss with their doctor about treatment options as soon as symptoms of a cataract appears.
- Cataract Disease Information. Smart Patient Website. Hospital Authority. http://www21.ha.org.hk/smartpatient/SPW/en-us/Disease-Information/Chronic-Diseases-Zone/Details/?guid=09c17de5-72f4-4442-b5b3-40dc7e2efa92
- Cataract Awareness Survey B3: Knowledge towards cataract
- Cataract Awareness Survey C1: Impact of cataract on wellbeing
- Cataract Awareness Survey C3: How long waited until surgery?
- Cataract Awareness Survey – Follow-Up Survey Q1: Which of the following statements do you think is true about cataract surgery?
- Cataract Awareness Survey C7: Post-surgery change in lifestyle after cataract treatment
- Who.int. (2017). WHO | Priority eye diseases. http://www.who.int/blindness/causes/priority/en/index1.html
- Hong Kong Reference Framework for Preventive Care for Older Adults in Primary Care Settings – Module on Visual Impairment 2017. http://www.pco.gov.hk/english/resource/files/Module_on_Visual_Impairment.pdf
- Cataract Awareness Survey B7: Knowledge towards Cataract symptom
- Cataract Awareness Survey A1: Worst condition
- Cataract Awareness Survey B5: Specific knowledge towards cataract treatment
- Before, During and After your Cataract Surgery. Vancouver Island Health Authority. http://www.viha.ca/nr/rdonlyres/d8d64302-6f3c-4cff-b525-e90b2d8d3957/0/cataract.pdf
About the Cataract Awareness Survey
To capture the varying levels of public understanding of cataracts and gain real-world insights on how the condition and treatment impacts the daily lives of patients, Johnson & Johnson Vision appointed an independent third-party research agency (GfK) to conduct the Cataract Awareness Survey. Fieldwork took place in August 2017, among more than 600 people, aged 55 and above, across Hong Kong and Singapore. Quotas were set on gender and age to ensure a breakdown within the sample of 300 adults age 55-64, 65-69 and 70+.
©2017 Abbott Medical Optics Inc. PP2017CT1979