Cataract Awareness Month

Digital patient engagement: Lessons Learned

Alcon Partners with Cheryl Ladd to Open Americans’ Eyes about the Importance of Knowing Your Cataract Eye-Q

· New survey shows many adults do not fully understand the condition or treatment options

· Survey results showcase a critical gap in education and awareness and aim to inspire patients to make informed decisions about their cataract treatment

Fort Worth, Texas, June 1, 2016 – Alcon, the global leader in eye care and a division of Novartis, has partnered with actress Cheryl Ladd to launch the Know Your Cataract EYE-Q campaign, which sheds light on the general lack of understanding about the condition and challenges Americans to test their Cataract EYE-Q, and learn about cataracts and their treatment options.

Cataracts are a condition that causes a cloudiness of the natural lens of the eye, which can impair vision and progressively worsen over time. According to Prevent Blindness, a national patient advocacy organization dedicated to fighting blindness and saving sight, cataracts are a leading cause of blindness among older adults in the United States and more than half of all Americans have cataracts by the time they are 80 years old.1

“My husband previously had cataract surgery and during the process we realized how little we both knew about the condition and procedure – we found out that there are a lot of misconceptions about cataracts,” said Cheryl Ladd. “It was important for both us to increase our Cataract EYE-Q so we could ask the right questions to inform our decision making process. I hope my personal journey will inspire others to equip themselves with the information needed to talk to their doctor.”

In a 2016 US survey of approximately 1,000 adults aged 60 and over who have been diagnosed with cataracts, only 25 percent of respondents said they had a full understanding of the condition.2 Almost one in five (20 percent)2 thought there are other options besides surgery to treat the condition. Nearly half (45 percent) of respondents did not know whether cataracts are preventable or not.2 Additionally, the survey demonstrated that three in four (75 percent) respondents did not realize cataract surgery can also correct other vision conditions such as astigmatism,2 which is a common, treatable imperfection in the curvature of the eye causing blurred vision.3

“Cataract surgery is one of the safest and most frequently performed procedures each year, requiring little recovery time or inconvenience to patients’ daily lives,” Edward Holland, M.D., director of cornea services at Cincinnati Eye Institute. “In fact, recent advances in lens technology and treatment options make it possible to correct cataracts as well as other vision

conditions and can help reduce the need for corrective glasses or contact lenses following surgery.”

During the month of June, which is nationally recognized as Cataract Awareness Month by Prevent Blindness, visit www.CataractEYEQ.com to take the Cataract EYE-Quiz, or share with a loved one.

About Cataracts

A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens of the eye that affects vision. As a cataract develops, the eye’s lens gradually becomes hard and cloudy which scatters light rays and allows less light to pass through, which makes it more difficult to see. The vast majority of cataracts happen as a result of normal aging but radiation exposure, taking steroids, diabetes, and eye trauma can accelerate the development of cataracts. Additionally, cataracts can be hereditary and congenital and can present shortly after birth. Cataracts are the most common age-related eye condition and the leading cause of preventable blindness in adults 55 and older in the US. Approximately 25 million Americans age 40 and older have cataracts, and this number is expected to double to about 50 million by 2050.4 Cataracts are treated by surgically removing the eye’s cloudy natural lens and replacing it with an intraocular lens (IOL), which can also address other vision conditions including astigmatism and presbyopia. More than 98 percent of cataract surgeries are considered successful and patients can usually return to their normal routines within 24 hours.

About Alcon

Alcon is the global leader in eye care. As a division of Novartis, we offer the broadest portfolio of products to enhance sight and improve people’s lives. Our products touch the lives of more than 260 million people each year living with conditions like cataracts, glaucoma, retinal diseases and refractive errors, and there are millions more who are waiting for solutions to meet their eye care needs. Our purpose is reimagining eye care, and we do this through innovative products, partnerships with eye care professionals and programs that enhance access to quality eye care. Learn more at www.alcon.com.

Alcon is on Facebook. Like us at www.facebook.com/AlconEyeCare

Survey Methodology

YouGov surveyed a total sample size of 1,014 US adults who have been diagnosed with cataracts by a doctor, but have not undergone treatment, ages 60 and up. Fieldwork was undertaken between April 28 and May 2, 2016 using an email invitation and an online survey. Quotas have been set to ensure an age breakdown within the sample of 750 adults age 60-75 and 250 age 76+. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the percentage expressing the results.

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Media Contacts Kara Peterson Kim Angelastro
+1 817 568 6781 (office) +1 212 798 9740 (office)
+1 817 374 3960 (mobile) + 1 912 441 8263 (mobile)
kara.peterson@alcon.com kim.angelastro@cohnwolfe.com

References 

1. PreventBlindness.org. Cataract. http://www.preventblindness.org/cataract. Accessed May 2016.

2. Know Your Cataract EYE-Q Survey Results.

3. American Academy of Ophthalmology. What Is Astigmatism? May 2015. http://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-is-astigmatism. Accessed May 2016.

4. National Eye Institute. Cataracts. https://nei.nih.gov/eyedata/cataract. Accessed May 2016.