Despite cataracts being the leading cause of blindness in China, 60 percent of newly diagnosed cataract patients lack a proper understanding of the condition, according to research released ahead the National Eye Care Day on Sunday.
The research was conducted by China Primary Health Care Foundation, medical journal Medical Doctor Weekly and Johnson & Johnson Surgical Vision China.
It looked at more than 300 Chinese ophthalmologists from public and private hospitals across China to better understand patient perceptions and behaviors regarding cataract treatment and status in China. The study also asked ophthalmologists for their insights on the outlook and evolution of cataract treatment in China.
According to the research, ophthalmologists in China often have to correct misconceptions from patients around cataract prevalence and treatment.
Common misconceptions brought up by patients include that surgeries must not be done until cataracts are fully developed (21.8 percent), that medication can cure cataracts (18.6 percent) and that patients with diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, glaucoma or other diseases cannot undergo surgery (12.7 percent).
Many cataract patients postpone seeking treatments due to fear of invasive treatment methods, lack of confidence in positive surgery outcomes, and general lack of education around available surgical technologies.
The results demonstrated an urgent need to improve disease education and access to information for cataract patients, while the disease affecting 80 percent of those aged between 60 to 89, and 90 percent of those aged above 90 in China.
However, the majority of ophthalmologists (82.5 percent) say their patients are willing to undergo surgery to improve their vision when they are recommended to do so. One in five ophthalmologists also say their patients expect better-than-ever eyesight post-cataract surgery.
The research pointed to a need for eye-care professionals to better understand barriers to treatment, and provide the right information to support patients' recovery.