What Happens if Cataracts Go Untreated?

A cataract is when a cloudy or opaque lens develops on one or both of your eyes. This cloudiness obstructs light from passing through, which can make your vision blurry, similar to looking through a foggy window. Cataracts are a degenerative condition that will get worse over time if left untreated. 

This condition affects a significant amount of people, especially in older age. Sometimes people think their vision worsens due to natural aging, but it could be the early stages of cataract development. When cataracts go untreated, it increases vision loss which disrupts normal daily activities.  

Cataracts can considerably decrease your quality of life. Our experienced eye care experts at Michigan Eye Institute offer the most advanced treatment options to get you back to your regular self. 

The Dangers of Untreated Cataracts

Cataracts are the leading cause of vision problems, and leaving them untreated can bring challenges in ways you might not expect. When you lose your vision due to cataracts, you’re more at risk of falling and getting hurt. 

Not only is it frustrating to lose your vision, it inhibits you from normal activities like driving, reading menus at a restaurant, or simply enjoying the ambiance around you. You may start to require help from others and feel less independent or not as sociable. 

Will Cataracts Go Away on Their Own?

No, cataracts will not go away on their own. This type of eye condition requires a diagnosis from a doctor and medical treatment. There is no medication or eye drops that reverse or remove forming cataracts. The most successful and safe way to treat cataracts is to remove them surgically. Different cataract surgery procedures offered at MEI include:

Laser-Assisted Cataract Procedure

This surgical procedure utilizes laser technology to improve precision and accuracy while minimizing risks.  

Dropless Cataract Procedure

After traditional cataract surgery, eye drops are prescribed to prevent infection and reduce inflammation in the eye.

Intraocular Lens (IOL) 

This procedure can help cure cataracts by removing the existing cloudy lens with an intraocular lens implant. An IOL implant is an artificial acrylic replacement for the natural lens in your eye. 


cataract symptoms The Risks for Developing Cataracts

The likelihood of developing cataracts increases with age. More than half of the individuals over 60 will develop cataracts and have their vision impacted. Some people may discover signs and symptoms of cataracts starting as early as in their 40s, which can lead to blindness if not treated. The following is a list of common risk factors for developing cataracts:

  • Increasing age
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
  • Family history of cataracts
  • Too much time in the sun
  • Diabetes
  • Previous eye injuries

Untreated or undetected cataracts can also turn into hypermature cataracts, which are advanced forms of the condition that are harder to treat. 

How To Detect Cataracts Early On

Detecting cataracts in its early stages can make treatment easier and more effective. It’s vital to make regular visits with your eye doctor to help catch cataracts early on. 

If you believe you’re developing cataracts, you may notice that:

  1. Colors are faded and less bright than usual.
  2. It’s difficult to see at night or in the dark.
  3. Even in bright light, your vision is clouded or blurry.
  4. Light from fluorescents or sunlight may seem painfully bright. 
  5. You see double in one or both eyes.
  6. You see a halo around or above lights.  

Cataracts most often happen as you age, but diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure, and obesity can increase the risk of them occurring.

Treatments for Cataracts

If you suspect that you’re developing cataracts based on the list above, make an appointment with your eye doctor. They will be able to officially diagnose and assess the severity of your vision loss and go over treatment options to alleviate the symptoms. Fortunately, cataracts are not an urgent condition that requires immediate medical attention. To alleviate cataract symptoms, you can wear anti-glare glasses for light sensitivity and magnifying glasses to help read and see smaller things. 

Read More: Can Cataracts Come Back After Surgery?

Older man with untreated cataracts

Cataract Treatment at Michigan Eye Institute 

To catch cataracts or prevent them from getting worse, it’s best to make regular appointments with your eye doctor. At Michigan Eye Institute, our eye care specialists can monitor your cataract progress and offer treatment options that are best for you. 

Contact us or schedule an appointment at one of our Michigan eye clinics today. 

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