Cataracts usually form very slowly over many years, and symptoms appear gradually, though cataracts can also be unpredictable. They normally occur as a natural side-effect of ageing, though other elements can play a part, such as exposure to sunlight, certain medical conditions, or genetics.
You should talk to your doctor or optician as soon as you start to experience cataract symptoms. The only treatment for cataracts is surgery, but when this should happen can be down to different factors.
The right time for treatment would be advised by your ophthalmologist, based on your personal circumstances. For example, if your cataracts are age-related and developing very slowly, you might be able to delay surgery until your problems with vision have worsened.
If you’re younger and your vision problems are caused by other factors, treatment may be a more pressing matter. This could be because of many different reasons, such as illnesses like diabetes, or injuries to the eye.
Delaying treatment for cataracts is rarely an option, and left untreated altogether they can seriously impair your vision. Having a very slow progression of symptoms may mean surgery is less pressing, but there are many factors that can exacerbate the problem and speed up the degradation of your vision.
The side-effects of cataracts can become much worse if you delay treatment, including:
Ultimately, untreated cataracts will progress to the point where vision is seriously impaired, which could mean full or partial sight-loss. You should always speak to your ophthalmologist as soon as you experience symptoms of cataracts, and they’ll be able to advise you on treatment. Delaying treatment against the advice of your doctor could result in worsening vision and a poorer quality of life.
Cataract surgery is one of the most common performed, with a high success rate and usually no need to stay overnight in hospital. During the surgery the cloudy lens is removed and replaced with an artificial lens, which usually results in restoring clear vision.
If you’re experiencing cataract symptoms, get in touch with us to book an appointment with one of our experienced ophthalmologists. You can also find out more about cataract symptoms and surgery here.