Cheryl Ladd: From Charlie’s Angel to Cataract Surgery Advocate

Cheryl Ladd, one of the original heroines of Charlie’s Angels, has found a new reason to be angelic. She is helping to raise awareness about cataract surgery. Ladd’s husband, Brian Russell, suffered from cataracts for three years before having his vision restored by cataract surgery.

Russell, now age 72, began showing symptoms such as having trouble reading and driving at night. As the symptoms persisted, Ladd insisted that her husband get his eyes checked. In May 2009, at the age of 65, Russell was diagnosed with cataracts. Within 24 hours of having cataract surgery, his vision was restored.

Wanting to do her part to make a difference, Ladd joined with Alcon Laboratories to help raise awareness for cataract surgery. Alcon surveyed 1,000 patients diagnosed with cataracts, and only 25 percent felt they understood the condition. About 20 percent of patients surveyed incorrectly believed that medical therapy existed for cataract patients. Surgical removal of the cataract and the implanting of an artificial lens called an intraocular lens (IOL) is the only treatment for cataracts.

According to the National Institutes of Health, over 50 percent of Americans have a cataract by the age of 80. If symptoms progress, cataract patients could be at risk for falling and potentially fracturing a hip. Cataract surgery is a quick, outpatient procedure that restores vision and has a 98 percent success rate. Ladd now shares her time to encourage all Americans to get their eyes checked. She says that vision changes can happen so slowly that sometimes we may not notice we are not seeing well.

“I was so uninformed, as so many people are, about what cataracts are and what your treatment options are,” Ladd said. “My husband had the surgery…and he literally said to me, ‘I don’t know why I didn’t do this sooner…Going from that place of not having any knowledge to where I am now—and especially my time I’ve spent with the doctor here—I feel completely confident about it” (Source: Fox News Health).


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