Five Celebrities Who Have Had Cataract Surgery

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Dozens of celebrities, including Mila Kunis and Larry King have undergone cataract surgery to help restore their vision.

What are cataracts?
Cataracts are a medical condition in which clouding in the eye’s crystalline lens affects the eyes vision. The lens, which lies behind the iris and the pupil, slowly becomes opaque, leading to blurred vision. The lens should be clear as it bends light rays that come into the eye allowing us to see. If a cataract forms, vision can be severely compromised.
A cataract can occur in one eye or both eyes, however, it cannot spread from one eye to the other. Some of the symptoms of cataracts include: blurry vision, double vision, light sensitivity, trouble seeing at night (or halos around lights), and colours appearing more faded or washed out.

Are Cataracts Common?
Cataracts are very common in elderly people, but young individuals can also develop them. There are more cases of cataracts worldwide than eye conditions such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy.
The most common cause of cataracts is ageing. This is due to the normal changes that eyes undergo when proteins in the lens start to break down. Genetics increase the likelihood of developing cataracts. Other causes of cataracts include: diabetes, eye injuries, and damage from ultraviolet (UV) rays.
Cataracts develop gradually as individuals age; however, you may be able to slow down the development of cataracts by taking cautionary steps (more information on this below).

Celebrities who have had cataracts
Cataracts can occur in anyone and famous people are no exception. Here’s a handful of celebrities who have undergone cataract surgery and successfully regained their vision.

  1. Matthew Wright
    Matthew Wright is seeing the world in a whole new way after having cataracts removed from both eyes. Television presenter and journalist for The Sun and The Daily Mirror, Wright told The Daily Mail, “I was living in a fog of vision, which had become so bad over the past 18 months that it got me down. It was also socially isolating… I got in the habit of walking with my head down as I didn’t want to catch people’s eyes and be unable to recognise them”. Wright suffered from congenital cataracts. Congenital cataracts are often present from a young age but often go unnoticed because the sufferer becomes accustomed to living with the vision they have. It is usually picked up when individuals reach their 30’s or 40’s and sight noticeably deteriorates. Wright’s surgery was a complete success, ‘the apps on my phone are gorgeous, and I am blown away by the details of architecture as I travel around London…another thing I notice is the dust. I’m house proud and in charge of housework, and I could not believe the dust or state of grouting in the bathroom’.
  2. Mila Kunis
    Mila Kunis, wife of Ashton Kutcher, is known in the Hollywood for her beautiful eyes, so it came as a shock when she revealed that she was blind in one eye. The television and movie actress opened up about her eye condition in 2011 to Cosmopolitan magazine. She was blind in one eye due to chronic iritis (inflammation of the middle layer of the eye that is between the sclera and retina). Due to this condition, she developed a cataract in the same eye. She was able to restore her sight and control her inflammation by undergoing cataract surgery.
  3. John Goodman
    Goodman is an Academy Award winning actor, most famous for his role as father and husband to Roseanne Barr in the long running TV show Roseanne. He spoke about his cataract surgery in an interview with People Magazine in 2013. Goodman announced that he was taking time out from working to deal with a range of health issues including treatment for an osteoarthritic knee and cataract surgery. Goodman returned to his acting career shortly after his recovery to take on roles such as Patriots Day, Transformers and Black earth rising.
  4. Joan Rivers
    Joan Rivers, who passed away in September 2014 was an American comedian, writer, actress, producer and more notably, a television host. The timing of her cataract surgery wasn’t great, falling in the middle of a book publicity tour meant Rivers had to wear an eye patch. Rivers explained that her vision was obstructed by a cataract in her right eye and underwent cataract surgery in 2012. After her successful surgery she enjoyed restored eyesight without complication.
  5. Larry King
    Famous talk show host, King, admitted to undergoing cataract surgery in 2009 after returning to work on his talk show. This famous television host has been recognised with awards including an Emmy and ten Cable ACE Awards. King also publicly sported an eye patch to
    cover his left eye after cataract surgery. He was also one of the first celebrities to film his surgery for use on his talk show. The footage showed his eye surgeon performing a laser-assisted cataract
    procedure and demonstrated the newest advanced in cataract technology.

Treatment for Cataracts
The symptoms of early cataract can be detected by eye care professionals through visual acuity tests (eye chart tests that measures how well you can see), dilated eye exams (using special magnifying lens to examine the eye for any eye problem), or through tonometry (an instrument that is used to measure the pressure inside the eye).
Certain precautions can be taken to help prevent the onset of cataracts, such as using anti-glare sunglasses, new and improved eyeglasses, and better lighting. However, such measures are usually not effective and surgery becomes the only option for removing the cloudy lens and
replacing it with an artificial lens. By understanding the benefits and risks associated with cataract surgery, individuals can make an informed decision whether to undergo this surgery or not.

Read about The Queen’s cataract surgery

Read about Cataract: Face vs. Fiction

Book a place at our next cataract information event

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