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Media Release

New Alcon survey reveals that people are happier, more satisfied with their lives after cataract surgery

  • Survey sheds light on the daily challenges of having cataracts and the emotional benefits of improved vision after surgery
  • Nearly all survey respondents (93%) would recommend having cataract surgery based on their personal experience
  • During Cataract Awareness Month, the ongoing Alcon MyCataracts patient education campaign aims to increase awareness of the emotional and physical toll cataracts may take on day-to-day life


FORT WORTH, Texas, June 1, 2017 – A new survey from Alcon, the global leader in eye care and a division of Novartis, demonstrates that people experience significant emotional and lifestyle benefits after cataract surgery. Nearly three in four respondents who expressed an opinion agreed that after having the surgery, they were happier, more satisfied and had a greater appreciation for life.1 The survey also confirmed that life before surgery posed several daily challenges. A majority of survey respondents said cataracts made simple, day-to-day tasks harder, and made them feel annoyed, frustrated and old.1

In recognition of Cataract Awareness Month this June, Alcon conducted the MyCataracts survey with 1,300 US adults, age 60 and over, who have undergone cataract surgery, to better understand the emotional journey of the condition and the lifestyle benefits of treatment. The survey expands Alcon’s ongoing MyCataracts awareness campaign by uncovering insights that will help people make informed treatment decisions together with their doctors.

“In a survey last year, we discovered that most people do not fully understand cataracts, even though more than 24 million people in the US are affected by them,” said Jim DiFilippo, Vice President and General Manager, US Surgical, Alcon. “This year, we looked deeper into that knowledge gap to find that many people also don’t realize the real impact and drawbacks cataracts can have on their everyday lives. Cataract Awareness Month provides the perfect opportunity to highlight the emotional journey of cataracts and the benefits of treatment.”

Important survey findings include1:

  • Survey respondents report a range of emotions associated with cataracts – before and after surgery. Almost 60 percent of respondents said having cataracts made them feel annoyed, frustrated or old. Of those participants who expressed an opinion, a majority agreed that after surgery they were happier (74%), more satisfied (76%), had a greater appreciation for their lives (68%) and felt more independent because their eyesight is clear (87%).
  • Nearly all the people surveyed would recommend cataract surgery. After reflecting on their own experience, 93 percent of respondents would advise someone they knew who was debating or scared about cataract surgery to get the procedure. 
  • A majority of people surveyed report cataracts made performing simple tasks and day-to-day activities more difficult. Nearly two in three respondents (64%) report that cataracts impacted their lives before surgery, such as making it difficult to work, see colors, drive, and watch TV and movies.
  • Many people did not recognize the emotional toll of living with cataracts. More than 50 percent of the respondents who expressed an opinion agreed that they didn’t realize how much they were missing in their lives until after having cataract surgery.

“Many of my patients with cataracts do not realize the emotional and physical impact the condition has on their lives until after their vision is restored,” said Lawrence Woodard, M.D., Medical Director at Omni Eye Services in Atlanta, GA. “Cataract surgery is one of the most common procedures in the US. And the good news is there are treatment options available that can correct vision conditions like astigmatism at the same time to potentially reduce the need for distance glasses.”

During Cataract Awareness Month, Alcon encourages people to visit MyCataracts.com, or call 1-844-MYCATARACT (1-844-692-2827) to learn more about the condition and treatment options, including those that can treat cataracts and astigmatism at the same time. Also visit the MyCataracts Facebook and YouTube pages for real-life stories of the cataract journey.  

Survey Methodology

Alcon collaborated with research firm YouGov in 2017 to field the MyCataracts Survey to 1,320 adults, age 60 and over, who have undergone cataract surgery. The survey was created to gain real-world insights into the emotional journey of how the condition and treatment impacts the lives of patients. Fieldwork was undertaken between April 13 and April 20, 2017 using email invitation and an online survey. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.

About Cataracts

Today, more than 24 million people, age 40 and older, in the United States are affected by cataracts.2 Cataracts are one of the most common eye health conditions associated with aging and one of the leading causes of age-related vision impairment in the United States.2 Nearly everyone who lives long enough will develop cataracts – by the age of 65, more than 90 percent of people in the United States will develop the condition where it starts to impair their vision.3,4 A cataract is a cloudy area in the naturally clear lens of the eye that affects vision. As a cataract develops, the eye’s lens gradually becomes cloudy allowing less light to pass through, which makes it more difficult to see.3 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.5 Cataracts are treated by removing the eye’s cloudy natural lens and surgically replacing it with an intraocular lens (IOL). Nearly 98 percent of cataract surgeries are considered successful and more than nine out of 10 people who have cataract surgery regain excellent vision.6



The foregoing release contains forward-looking statements that can be identified by words such as “would,” “recommend,” “ongoing,” “aims,” “may,” “opportunity,” “waiting for solutions,” or similar terms, or by express or implied discussions regarding potential marketing approvals or new indications or labeling for the products in the Alcon Surgical and Vision Care portfolios, or regarding potential future revenues from the Alcon Surgical and Vision Care portfolios. You should not place undue reliance on these statements. Such forward-looking statements are based on the current beliefs and expectations of management regarding future events, and are subject to significant known and unknown risks and uncertainties. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements. There can be no guarantee that any products in the Alcon Surgical and Vision Care portfolios will be submitted or approved for any additional indications or labeling in any market, or at any particular time. Neither can there be any guarantee that any products in the Alcon Surgical and Vision Care portfolios will be submitted or approved for sale in any market, or at any particular time. Nor can there be any guarantee that any products in the Alcon Surgical and Vision Care portfolios will be commercially successful in the future. In particular, management’s expectations regarding the products in the Alcon Surgical and Vision Care portfolios could be affected by, among other things, the uncertainties inherent in research and development, including clinical trial results and additional analysis of existing clinical data; regulatory actions or delays or government regulation generally; the company’s ability to obtain or maintain proprietary intellectual property protection; general economic and industry conditions; global trends toward health care cost containment, including ongoing pricing and reimbursement pressures; safety, quality or manufacturing issues, and other risks and factors referred to in Novartis AG’s current Form 20-F on file with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Novartis is providing the information in this press release as of this date and does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained in this press release as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.



  1. My Cataracts Survey Results. 2017.
  2. Prevent Blindness. Vision Problems in the US. Report. http://www.visionproblemsus.org/cataract/cataract-definition.html. Accessed May 2017.
  3. New York Times. Cataracts In-Depth Report. http://www.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/cataract/print.html. Accessed May 2017.
  4. Kellogg Eye Center. Cataract. http://www.umkelloggeye.org/conditions-treatments/cataract. Accessed May 2017.
  5. American Optometric Association (AOA). Causes of Cataract. http://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/eye-and-vision-problems/glossary-of-eye-and-vision-conditions/cataract?sso=y. Accessed May 2017. 
  6. Cleveland Clinic. Cataracts. http://my.clevelandclinic.org/services/cole-eye/diseases-conditions/hic-cataracts. Accessed May 2017.

About Novartis

Novartis provides innovative healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative medicines, cost-saving generic and biosimilar pharmaceuticals and eye care. Novartis has leading positions globally in each of these areas. In 2016, the Group achieved net sales of USD 48.5 billion, while R&D throughout the Group amounted to approximately USD 9.0 billion. Novartis Group companies employ approximately 118,000 full-time-equivalent associates. Novartis products are sold in approximately 155 countries around the world. For more information, please visit www.novartis.com.

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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.

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