What Happens If Cataracts Are Left Untreated?

Everything you need to know about untreated cataracts
Read Time: 3.5 Minutes | Mar 29, 2020
 

What Happens If Cataracts Are Left Untreated?

Everything you need to know about untreated cataracts
Read Time: 3.5 Minutes | Mar 29, 2020
What Happens If Cataracts Are Left Untreated?
Untreated cataracts can lead to total blindness. Waiting too long for treatment will usually result in hyper-mature cataracts. Hyper-mature cataracts are harder to remove and can result in complications during surgery. Discussing treatment options with your doctor can help you to maintain your eye health.

Progression of Untreated Cataracts

Cataracts will progress if left untreated and should be monitored by your ophthalmologist.

Practicing a healthy lifestyle and maintaining a clean diet will help to limit your chances of cataracts worsening. You can also avoid progression by eliminating medications that increase the risk of cataracts. But you’ll need to consult with a medical professional before making any changes to your medication. You should also avoid extended exposure to UV rays without the protection of sunglasses.

Vision Deterioration and Potential Blindness

Eventually, cataracts left untreated will cause total blindness.

While the early symptoms of cataracts are minimal, with time visual impairment will become more obvious. This will manifest as hazy vision, double vision, worsening night vision, and glare. Those with developing and worsening cataracts will notice everyday activities becoming nearly impossible to accomplish, even with corrective lenses.

Can Your Cure a Cataract Without Surgery?

Eye procedure
There are no natural cures for cataracts. Nor can you cure cataracts with eye drops or reverse the development of cataracts without surgery. There have, however, been studies of substances that could potentially reverse cataracts. These substances have only been studied and are not FDA approved.

While you can’t naturally cure cataracts or prevent them, you can take part in healthy lifestyle practices which could potentially be helpful. These lifestyle practices include eating fruits and vegetables, wearing sunglasses, and reducing risky behavior such as smoking and high alcohol consumption.

You should also regularly see your eye doctor which will help to catch the development of cataracts early.

How Long Can You Leave a Cataract Untreated?

You should not leave a cataract untreated for any amount of time after learning of its existence. Many ophthalmologists will push surgery back until the cataract has become bothersome enough to disrupt the daily life of the patient, but the cataract will be monitored during this time. Having an ophthalmologist monitoring your eye health is important for the early detection and treatment of cataracts.

Risks of Untreated Cataracts

Untreated cataracts can become hyper-mature. These are then more difficult to treat and remove. Besides the development of hyper-mature cataracts, untreated cataracts pose the following risks:

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Blurry Vision

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Changing Prescription

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Driving Difficulties

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Colors Appear Faded

Risks of Cataract Surgery

Cataract surgery has a 98% success rate in America. But there are some potential complications that can develop from cataract surgery. These include:

  • Eye inflammation
  • Light sensitivity
  • Photopsia
  • Ptosis
  • Ocular hypertension
  • Posterior capsule opacity

If you have any questions or concerns about cataract surgery complications your ophthalmologist will be able to provide you with answers.

Can Cataracts Cause Permanent Damage?

Yes, cataracts can cause permanent damage to the eye, especially if left untreated. Untreated cataracts can cause continual loss of vision. Eventually, this will lead to complete blindness.

In many cases, vision impairment can be fixed with surgery and implantation of a lens. However, it is not guaranteed that the vision loss from a cataract that has been left untreated for a long period of time can be restored upon surgery.
woman having eyes checked

Preventing Cataracts

While you can’t get rid of a cataract once it has developed, you can take measures to avoid the onset of cataracts, to begin with. While age is the most common risk factor associated with cataracts, you should also cut out smoking and extended exposure to sunlight without the protection of sunglasses.

Certain diseases and medication put you at a higher risk of developing cataracts. Discuss with your doctor any preventative measures you should be taking if you are in a higher-risk group for cataract development.

Your Cataract Treatment Options

The main form of cataract treatment is surgery. This usually consists of either CataLāze, LACS, or Phaco procedures. CataLāze, the preferred treatment method of Brevard Eye Center, removes clouded cataracts and uses a premium lens implant to help restore your vision. This procedure results in less inflammation and boasts a quicker recovery time because it is a blade-free surgery. Contact us to get started with your own cataract treatment plan.

Dr Tres

Expert care for patients with cataracts.

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