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What Will Happen If a Cataract Is Left Untreated?

June 15, 2021

During the month of June, people learn a lot about cataracts prevention, symptoms, and treatment as part of Cataract Awareness Month. Cataracts are among the leading causes of blindness in many people today. It is important to acknowledge that people above the age of 40 are at a higher risk of suffering from this condition. Cataracts develop slowly over time and if it is not treated early enough, may cause severe vision problems.


What Are Cataracts Exactly?


Cataracts develop in the eyes due to injuries, age, or other genetic disorders. People with other medical conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, and autoimmune disorders are at a high risk of getting cataracts. Long-term use of steroid medication can cause cataracts too, as they form in the clear part of the eye - in the lens.


The lens of the eye is located behind the colored part of the eye, which is the iris. It focuses the light coming into the retina, helping it to produce clear images. As you age, the eye lens becomes less flexible and thicker.


Injuries and other medical conditions cause the lens to fill up with blood vessels and tissue that have broken down. The lens becomes cloudy and a cataract begins to develop. The cloudier it becomes, the less light it passes, resulting in poor vision. 


What Happens If Cataracts Are Untreated?


Some people develop cataracts, while others are born with cataracts due to intrauterine trauma or genetic disorders. Cataracts affect the lens of the eye and if it is untreated, a translucent layer forms behind the iris, causing poor visibility or blind spots. The translucent cataract develops into an opaque layer, completely blocking out the light. 


Untreated cataracts can cause blurry or double vision and people will begin to experience poor vision at night, resulting in poor peripheral vision. Cataracts also cause blind spots, distorted images, distorted colors, and wrong perception of objects at a distance. Patients with cataracts also have sensitivity to light; they may see halos and shadows and a yellow tint on objects. If these cataracts are not removed as soon as they are detected, they can cause irreparable vision loss.


Can Cataracts Be Prevented? 


Having regular eye exams can help detect cataracts at an early stage. Managing other health conditions such as diabetes and hypertension helps reduce the risk. Limited usage of steroid medication, as well as other harmful drugs, also helps to prevent it.


Keeping a healthy diet made up of colorful veggies, antioxidants, plenty of water, and omega-3 supplements is recommended. Wearing eyewear that blocks UV light when you are out in the sun protects your eyes from UV damage.


Are Cataracts Treatable?


Cataracts are treated with cataract surgery, a procedure that removes the cloudy lens and replaces it with an artificial lens. However, the cataract may be removed without replacing it with an artificial lens. There are clinical trials in place to prevent, detect, and treat cataracts more effectively.


To learn more about cataracts, call Vision Center South at (888) 660-2738 to schedule an appointment at one of our five offices in Alabama or our office in Florida.

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