Since the true treatment for cataracts is surgery, many people wonder what will happen if they don’t have the procedure performed. Even though cataract surgery is safe, the thought of going under the knife daunting. Will it really be worth it? The answer is yes.
This is what happens if you leave cataracts untreated:
The Progression of Untreated Cataracts
- Vision worsens. Cataracts become thicker and cloudier as time goes on. For some, this worsening is slow, and it can be many years before major activities like driving become impossible to do safely. Many people, however, find that their vision worsens more quickly.
- Daily activities are affected. As vision worsens, it gets to the point where simply using stronger glasses won’t provide enough improvement. Then, it gets harder to do daily activities like finding small objects, reading, cooking, and eventually, driving and other “large scale” things.
For some people, these changes can be dangerous: It can be impossible to read medication bottles or even tell one type of pill from another. This is especially problematic for senior citizens thanks to the increased likelihood of needing prescription meds during the golden years.
- It can become harder to do surgery on them later. In some cases, cataracts can become what is called “hyper mature.” These are harder to remove, and surgical complications become more likely.
- Legal or total blindness may result. Legal blindness is visual acuity below a set point, where in total blindness, you truly see nothing. When cataracts are thick enough, they’ll block so much light that one or both conditions result.