How Long Does It Take to Go Blind from Cataracts? – Cataracts’ progression can be quite variable and depends on several factors including the type of cataract, age, overall health, and lifestyle of the individual. Age-related cataracts typically develop slowly, often taking several years or even decades to reach a stage where they significantly affect vision.
- In some cases, it could take 10 years or more for a cataract to progress to the point of causing blindness.
- However, other types of cataracts, such as those due to diabetes, trauma or certain medications can progress more quickly.
- These might lead to significant vision impairment in a matter of months or a few years.
It’s essential to note that ‘blindness’ from cataracts usually refers to severe vision loss but doesn’t mean total darkness. Even in advanced stages, most individuals with cataracts can perceive light and shadows. Remember, cataracts are a treatable cause of blindness.
- 1 How long does it take for a cataract to make you go blind?
- 2 Can blindness from cataracts be reversed?
- 3 Why do some people go blind after cataract surgery?
- 4 Is it better to have cataract surgery early or later?
- 5 What I wish I knew before cataract surgery?
- 6 At what age do people get cataracts?
- 7 What is stage 3 cataract?
- 8 Why don’t I need glasses after cataract surgery?
- 9 Is it best to treat cataracts early?
- 10 How do you know if cataracts are worse?
- 11 Does vision go back to normal after cataract surgery?
How long does it take for a cataract to make you go blind?
Age-related cataracts usually take decades to cause blindness. But certain cataract types can cause vision loss more quickly. Cataracts usually develop in older adults. They remain a leading cause of blindness in many countries despite improvements in treatments.
Age-related cataracts usually take decades to cause blindness, but other types of cataracts can cause vision loss to happen more quickly. This article explores how cataracts lead to blindness and how long complete vision loss can take if cataracts aren’t treated effectively. Over time, the lens of your eye can become clouded simply from environmental and lifestyle strains.
This is known as oxidative stress. In particular, this lens clouding is caused by clumps of proteins that build up over time, preventing light from passing through the lens. The breakdown of these proteins that collect in your eye speeds up after age 40.
blurred visionhalos of light around objectsfaded colorssensitivity to bright lightspoor night visiondouble vision
Although cataracts can sometimes develop in children, age-related cataracts are the most common form. They start to develop in adults ages 45–50 years old, As clumps of damaged proteins build up in your eyes, cataracts can grow larger and cause more vision problems.
- In the early stages, you might not realize you have cataracts.
- Age-related cataracts can form so gradually that you might not think much of your vision changes,
- As your vision worsens, or particular areas of vision loss become more noticeable, your eye doctor might diagnose cataracts.
- Age-related cataracts are the most common type.
They usually take decades to cause blindness, but other types of cataracts can cause vision loss to happen more quickly. A traumatic cataract is one type of cataract that can cause blindness to develop more quickly. Traumatic eye injuries affect about one-fifth of adults during their lifetime.
- Eye injuries when blunt, penetrating trauma damages lens fibers can lead to traumatic cataracts instantly or in the weeks or months after the injury occurred.
- Radiation from sun damage or medical treatments can also lead to cataracts.
- Vision loss from radiation cataracts can happen more quickly than from age-related cataracts, but they still take longer to develop than traumatic cataracts.
Pediatric cataracts are another form of cataracts. They are usually present at birth or form in the first few weeks of life. Genetic factors cause pediatric cataracts. If these cataracts are large enough at birth, doctors remove them quickly to prevent ongoing vision problems or blindness.
wearing sunglasses or hats to protect your eyes from the sun and other forms of radiationusing protective eyewear when performing activities or work where there is a high risk of traumatic injuryavoiding smoking cigarettes or exposing your eyes to high levels of air pollutioneating a balanced diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, and healthy oilslimiting alcohol consumption
Other factors that can lead to cataracts include:
a family history of cataracts diabetes other eye surgeriestaking steroid medications
Cataract treatment has come a long way. Surgery can typically treat cataracts before blindness develops. Today, blindness from cataracts is most common in countries where people have more difficulty accessing or paying for vision care. If lens clouding from a large cataract is the only cause of vision loss, removing the cataract can reverse blindness.
Can blindness from cataracts be reversed?
Is Blindness from Cataracts Permanent? The term blindness is usually thought of as permanent, but that isn’t always the case. Blindness from cataracts can be reversed by having cataract surgery. This is possible thanks to having the natural lens removed and an artificial lens put in its place.
Cataracts that lead to blindness are harder to remove because they are so dense. Optimal results from cataract surgery are achieved before a cataract causes low vision or severe vision loss. The prevalence and importance of getting treatment for cataracts are usually underestimated. Cataracts are one of the leading causes of blindness in the world.
More than 20 million Americans who are 40 and older have cataracts. Cataracts are also sometimes found in younger adults and even newborns. The causes of can range from previous eye trauma to health issues like diabetes, lifestyle choices like smoking, to genetic factors.
When is it too late to have cataract surgery?
One of the most common uncertainties surrounding cataracts and cataract eye surgery is deciding when it’s the right time for surgery. Patients often wonder how they’ll know when their cataracts are ready to be removed; meanwhile, others worry about whether it’s possible to wait too long for cataract removal.
The simplest answer is this: The right time for surgery is when your cataracts have begun to interfere with your quality of life, and glasses and/or contacts no longer satisfy your visual needs. Physical Symptoms of Cataracts Of course, there are physical signs that Dr. Kerry Solomon and his team evaluate at the time of your cataract exam.
These include the thickness of your cataract, as well as the results of your vision and glare tests. They’ll also check your refraction to determine if a stronger pair of glasses might correct your vision complaints—if a patient’s vision can be satisfactorily corrected with a new glasses prescription, surgery is likely not needed.
- However, all of this is only one part of the equation.
- Because, in the end It’s Really Up to You With many other types of surgery, doctors and surgeons will evaluate a patient’s test results and make a definitive decision about whether a procedure is needed.
- Cataract surgery is different, because the way a patient experiences their own vision is a major factor in determining when it’s time for surgery.
Dr. Solomon’s typical rule of thumb is that it’s time for surgery when the symptoms of your cataracts have begun to interfere with your work, hobbies, and overall quality of life, and glasses and/or contacts no longer satisfy your visual needs. These symptoms can include things like glare from headlights and streetlights when driving at night, or blurred vision that impacts your ability to enjoy hobbies like golfing, reading, sewing, cooking, watching television, and more.
- Too Early? Too Late? But is there such a thing as having cataract surgery too early or too late? Not exactly.
- While cataracts can be removed at any stage of development, Medicare and private insurance carriers will only cover the procedure when cataracts have begun to impact a patient’s life as described above.
On the other hand, while cataract surgery does not pose any direct threat to a patient’s health, cataracts that have been allowed to become extremely thick or “mature” can be more difficult to remove. This causes the procedure to take longer and be more strenuous on the eye than usual.
- The real risk of postponing cataract surgery, though, is simply to your quality of life.
- Many of our patients tell us that their one regret is waiting as long as they did to have cataract surgery.
- In fact, Dr.
- Solomon’s research has shown that patients wait, on average, five years longer than necessary to have cataract surgery.
That’s five years of struggling needlessly with the frustrations and limitations of poor vision! The Verdict If your vision has started to impact your ability to enjoy life the way you once did, it’s time to schedule a cataract evaluation, At this no-obligation appointment, Dr.
What happens if you don’t remove a cataract?
What happens if cataracts are left untreated? – Content Untreated cataracts will eventually block light from entering the eye and result in a loss of vision. Worldwide, they are the leading cause of blindness.
Do cataracts get bad quickly?
“Fast-growing cataracts?” “Aggressive cataracts?” “Fast-developing cataracts?” If you’ve grown accustomed to the prevailing myth that cataracts grow slowly over time, you may find yourself confused when you hear these terms. It’s true that most cataracts develop at a more sluggish pace, making them easier to diagnose and treat before they grow too harmful.
- But if you’re wondering, “Can cataracts progress rapidly?” then the answer is, unfortunately, yes.
- Certain activities or conditions do increase your likelihood of developing intrusive, fast-growing cataracts.
- However, treatment options are available, such as laser treatment for cataracts and iStent surgery.
Aggressive cataracts are disruptive to your day-to-day life, but they aren’t an insurmountable obstacle. Your vision can be restored with the help of Eye Center of Texas.
Has anyone gone blind after cataract surgery?
Cataract surgery is the safest surgery of all surgeries being performed in the world. The success rate of a Cataract surgery is 98%. However, every surgery entails risks and cataract surgery is no exception. Endophthalmitis is the only complication that can cause permanent vision loss.
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Neoretina is an NABH (National Accreditation Board for Hospital and Healthcare Providers) accredited Super-Speciality Eye Hospital located in the heart of the city of Hyderabad. From the best eye care experts in the country to possessing state-of-the-art equipment that only a handful of specialty hospitals in the country claim to house, Neoretina has been trusted by more than 500 ophthalmologists as a referral hospital and hundred-thousands of patients across the country for the management of diseases of Retina, Uvea and complex eye conditions. Latest posts by Neoretina ( see all )
Why do some people go blind after cataract surgery?
Retinal Detachment It is the retina that is responsible for processing visual information and sending it to the brain. Thus, once the retina is damaged, it results in permanent loss of vision. The chance of developing a retinal detachment after cataract surgery is approximately 1 in 3,000.
Can eyesight get better with cataracts?
Myopia (Nearsightedness) – Cataracts can cause nearsightedness, which can actually improve vision in those who are already nearsighted or farsighted. This is a strange phenomenon, often called “second-sight,” and can sometimes mean people with cataracts see better without glasses.
- Unfortunately, the improved ability to see up close does not negate the other cataracts symptoms.
- Also, if you have had nearly perfect vision all your life, cataracts can limit your ability to see at a distance because of myopia.
- While cataracts can be treated with eye drops, the most effective and long term solution is often cataract surgery.
If you think you may have cataracts, schedule an appointment at Arizona Eye in Glendale to see if cataract surgery is right for you. Virtually every cataract patient we treat regains their vision.
Is it better to have cataract surgery early or later?
Can you wait too long to have cataracts removed? – Cataracts can become “hyper-mature”, which makes them more difficult to remove. In some cases, this can cause complications during surgery. Usually, the best results for cataract surgery occur when surgery is performed soon after vision problems develop, whether it is due to age, disease, or injury.
What I wish I knew before cataract surgery?
Some Don’ts: Things to Avoid – Here are some things that you may want to avoid before and after cataract surgery to ensure that you heal properly. Avoiding eating and drinking before your surgery. Don’t wear makeup to the surgery appointment, and avoid wearing makeup until your ophthalmologist allows it so that you can better prevent infection.
Avoid getting irritants in your eyes. You will also want to avoid swimming in pools and soaking in hot tubs while your eyes are healing. Water, dust, and pollen can interrupt the healing process and promote infection. Don’t rub your eyes. This increases your chances of inflammation and infection in your healing eyes.
Avoid bending over too much because it can increase the pressure in your eyes. This isn’t good for healing. You must try not to overdo it too soon. Don’t rush yourself. Only get back into your normal routine when you are ready. Don’t be too alarmed about wavy or blurry vision.
At what age do people get cataracts?
Average Age for Cataract Surgery | Pacific Eye Institute | Upland A cataract is the clouding of the eye’s natural lens. Your eye’s natural lens is located directly behind the pupil and is made up of mostly water and protein. As you get older, the protein parts of the lens can begin to clump together.
These clumps start small but grow larger over time. The bigger they get, the more they can compromise your vision. A cataract can make objects appear blurry. It can also make colors seem less bright. Cataracts are a common condition, especially for older people. Cataracts typically begin developing in people age 40 years and older but don’t usually begin to impair vision until after age 60.
However, younger people can develop cataracts, too. These juvenile cataracts (in children) can be caused by a genetic mutation that affects proteins, by metabolic disorders, or by trauma (eye injury). The symptoms of cataracts are similar to those for myopia (near-sightedness).
Blurry or cloudy vision Faded colors Poor night vision, with halos around streetlights and car headlights Light sensitivity in daylight or to bright lights at night Double vision Frequent changes to your prescription for glasses or contacts
Once a cataract has developed, there is no cure except to have it surgically removed. With a routine, outpatient surgical procedure in Upland, Our Doctors can remove the cataract using a small incision. A synthetic intraocular lens (IOL) is usually inserted at the time of cataract extraction to replace the focusing power of the natural lens.
Do cataracts get worse if you don’t have surgery?
Usually, a cataract that isn’t removed will slowly get worse and make your eyesight worse : You may no longer be able to do your usual daily activities. You may not be able to drive safely, especially at night. You may be more likely to fall or hurt yourself.
What is stage 3 cataract?
Stage 3: The ‘Clear’ Cataract – The lens is still clear, however the lens material no longer bends light consistently. The image that is generated is a little blurry even though the lens material is clear. This type of blur cannot be corrected with glasses or contacts.
Why don’t I need glasses after cataract surgery?
Cataract surgery – In each eye there is a natural lens which focuses light. When we are born it is clear; over time it can acquire opacity, becoming cloudy – becoming a cataract. Once a cataract forms, your vision becomes blurred, and it can only be corrected with cataract surgery.
- Cataract surgery involves removing the cataract from the eye and replacing it with an artificial lens, restoring the vision.
- In modern cataract surgery, careful measurements of the eye are performed before surgery so that the correct power artificial lens is inserted into the eye.
- By matching the right power lens with a person’s uniquely shaped eye, cataract surgery in general results in excellent distance vision without glasses.
However, by choosing a lens that is focused for distance, this often means the lens is not being focused for near work (such as reading or computer work) – that is why reading glasses are often needed following cataract surgery. But this does not have to be the case – there are other options for people motivated to be spectacle independent following cataract surgery.
Is it best to treat cataracts early?
What are cataracts, and how do they progress? – Aging is the cause of many age-related diseases, such as cataracts. However, most people do not know that cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in older adults. They affect nearly a million Australians every year.1 1 Medibank Live Better.2021.
How common are cataracts in Australia? | Live Better. Available at:, A cataract occurs when there is a buildup of proteins in the lens, creating protein clumps. These clumps prevent light from passing clearly through the lens, thus causing impaired vision. Cataracts may start as early as age 40. You are more prone to developing cataracts if you have a family history, smoke, have diabetes, 2 Diabetesaustralia.com.au.2021.
Available at:, or use corticosteroid medications over a long period of time. In addition, lack of care in proper protection for your eyes is another factor that puts you at a higher risk of cataracts. A cataract is not something that often appears overnight.
Instead, it is slow in progression. You may not be aware that there is a change in your vision at first. However, as time passes, you will notice a difference in vision as more of the lens becomes cloudy. The progression of a cataract will vary from person to person. It may even be different between each eye.
Many people believe it’s best to hold out until their cataracts get worse before undergoing treatment. However, it’s easier to treat cataracts during the early stages. There are often fewer complications and less difficulty removing the cataract.
How do you know if cataracts are worse?
A Visual Guide to Cataracts Medically Reviewed by on September 15, 2022 A cataract is a progressive, painless clouding of the natural, internal lens of the eye. Cataracts block light, making it difficult to see clearly. Over a period of time, cataracts can cause blindness, if not treated or removed. They’re often related to growing older, but sometimes they can develop in younger people In a normal eye, light enters and passes through the lens. The lens focuses that light into a sharp image on the retina, which relays messages through the optic nerve to the brain. If the lens is cloudy from a cataract, the image you see will be blurry. Other eye conditions, such as myopia, cause blurry vision, too, but cataracts produce some distinctive signs and symptoms. Blurry vision at any distance is the most common symptom of cataracts. Your view may look foggy, filmy, or cloudy. Over time, as the cataracts get worse, less light reaches the retina. People with cataracts may have an especially hard time seeing and driving at night. Another early symptom of cataracts is glare, or sensitivity to light. You may have trouble seeing in bright sunlight. Indoor lights that once didn’t bother you now may seem too bright or have halos. Driving at night may become a problem because of the glare caused by street lights and oncoming headlights. Sometimes, cataracts can cause double vision (also known as diplopia) when you look with one eye. This is different than the double vision that comes from the eyes not lining up properly, which would give you double vision when looking out of both eyes together. With cataracts, images can appear double even with just one eye open. Cataracts can affect your color vision, making some hues look faded. Your vision may gradually take on a brownish or yellowish tinge. At first, you may not notice this discoloration. But over time, it may make it harder to distinguish blues and purples. Sometimes, a cataract may temporarily improve a person’s ability to see close-up, because the cataract acts as a stronger lens. This phenomenon is called second sight, because people who may have once needed reading glasses find that they don’t need them anymore. As the cataract worsens however, this goes away and vision worsens again. Frequent changes to your eyeglass or contact lens prescription can be a sign of cataracts. This is because cataracts are usually progressive, meaning they get worse over time. The majority of cataracts are related to aging. More than half of Americans over 65 have cataracts. Babies are sometimes born with cataracts, also called congenital cataracts, or children may develop them as a result of injury or illness. Exposure to Ultraviolet (UV) light can also increase the risk of cataract and other eye conditions. The exact cause of cataracts is unknown. While the risk grows as you get older, these factors may also contribute:
DiabetesSmokingExcess alcohol useEye InjuryProlonged use of corticosteroidsProlonged exposure to sunlight or radiation
Most cataracts can be diagnosed with an eye exam. Your eye doctor will test your vision and examine your eyes with a slit lamp microscope to look for problems with the lens and other parts of the eye. The pupils are dilated to better examine the back of the eye, where the retina and optic nerve lie.
If you have vision loss caused by cataracts that can’t be corrected with glasses or contact lenses, you may need surgery to remove the cataracts. In cataract surgery, the cloudy lens is removed and replaced with an artificial lens. The surgery, which is done on an outpatient basis, is safe and extremely effective at improving vision.
If cataracts are present in both eyes, surgery will be done on one eye at a time. There are 2 main types of cataract surgery. The more common type is called phacoemulsification (phaco) or “Ultrasonics.” The doctor makes a tiny incision in the eye and breaks up the lens using ultrasonic waves.
The lens is removed, and an intraocular lens (IOL) is put in its place. In most modern cataract surgeries the IOL eliminates the need for thick glasses or a contact lens after surgery. Recent developments in cataract surgery can correct both near and distance vision. They minimize or eliminate the need for reading glasses after surgery.
Conventional “monofocal” lenses only correct for distance vision, meaning reading glasses are still needed after surgery. Multifocal IOLs (Intraocular Lens) can be an option in some patients to help improve both distance and near vision. “Toric” implants are available to correct astigmatism.
A lens for better color vision is in development (shown here next to a dime). For a few days, your eye may be itchy and sensitive to light. You may be prescribed drops to aid healing and asked to wear an eye shield or glasses for protection. It’ll take about eight weeks for your eye to heal completely, though your vision should begin to improve soon after surgery.
You may still need glasses, at least occasionally, for distance or reading – as well as a new prescription after healing is complete. Complications from cataract surgery are rare. The most common risks are bleeding, infection, and changes in eye pressure, which are all treatable when caught early.
Surgery slightly raises the risk of retinal detachment, which requires emergency treatment. Sometimes, lens tissue left after surgery and used to support the IOL can become cloudy, even years after surgery. This “after-cataract” is easily and permanently corrected with a laser. Whether or not to have cataract surgery is up to you and your doctor.
Rarely cataracts need to be removed right away, but this isn’t usually the case. Cataracts affect vision slowly over time, so many people wait to have surgery until glasses or contacts no longer improve their vision enough. If you don’t feel that your cataracts are causing problems in your day-to-day life, you may choose to wait.
Don’t smoke.Always wear a hat and sunglasses in the sun.Keep diabetes well controlled.Limit alcohol consumption.
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What is stage 2 cataract?
Cataract Development – Southwestern Eye Center Cataract progression varies with each individual and is dependent on the type of cataract and other accelerating risk factors such as age, exposure to UV rays and use of certain medications. Understanding the different stages of cataract development is useful in planning treatment. In the early stage, the lens remains clear but the ability to focus at distance and then refocus on near objects is slowly lost. Early warning signs
Mild blurring or clouding Increasing eye strain Increasing light sensitivity Early appearance of glare
A cataract in the early stages of development may be rectified with:
New glasses Anti-glare sunglasses Magnifying lenses
At this stage, lens opacity is enough to noticeably obstruct vision. If the eye is illuminated from the side, the edge of the pupil casts a shadow on the lens.
What is the scariest complication of cataract surgery?
Endophthalmitis – Endophthalmitis is a serious complication of cataract surgery involving microorganisms that gain entry into the eye. Risk factors for the development of endophthalmitis include rupture of the posterior capsule or the need for anterior vitrectomy during the procedure, age greater than 85 years, and male sex.
Is cataract surgery a big deal?
What are the risks of this procedure? – Cataract surgery is a safe, routine procedure. Problems during and after cataract surgery are rare in an experienced surgeon’s hands. Your risk of complications may be higher if you have certain eye diseases or medical conditions. Possible risks of cataract surgery include:
- Eye bleeding or swelling.
- Ongoing eye pain.
- Blurred vision or vision loss.
- Visual disturbances, such as glare, halos and shadows.
- IOL displacement (your new lens moves out of place).
- Posterior capsular opacification (the membrane that holds your lens becomes cloudy).
- Retinal detachment, affecting 2 in 1,000 people.
- Infection, affecting fewer than 1 in 1,000 people.
Your ophthalmologist can successfully treat most of these complications. Before your surgery, ask your ophthalmologist about your individual level of risk. Plus, ask how they can treat any complications that may arise.
Does vision go back to normal after cataract surgery?
How long does it take vision to clear after cataract surgery? – In most cases, vision improves immediately after surgery, although pupils may remain dilated for 1-2 days. As the eyes heal and adjust, some patients may experience blurry vision. Blurry vision usually clears the day following the surgery.
- However, for some people vision can take several days to return to normal.
- Patients should prepare for other mild side effects as their vision clears after cataract surgery.
- These effects may include light irritation, foreign body sensation, and heightened sensitivity to light.
- It is not common to have blurred vision for more than a few days after cataract surgery.
If blurred vision persists, contact your eye doctor immediately.
Can cataracts cause sudden blindness?
Cortical Cataracts – Cataracts, or the yellowing or whitening of the lens of the eye, are common as people age. Vision loss associated with cataracts typically happens over time, but some types of cataracts can affect vision more abruptly. Cortical cataracts start at the outside of the lens and spread across the rest of the lens.
Sometimes when they grow across the center of the lens, they can cause a sudden decline in vision over the span of a few weeks,” Dr. Hardin says. Other symptoms of cataracts include glare, difficulty reading in low-light conditions, and a general deterioration in both near and distance vision that is not correctable with glasses.
If you have cataracts, your doctor may perform surgery to remove them.
What is stage 3 cataract?
Stage 3: The ‘Clear’ Cataract – The lens is still clear, however the lens material no longer bends light consistently. The image that is generated is a little blurry even though the lens material is clear. This type of blur cannot be corrected with glasses or contacts.
What is the average age for cataract surgery?
What is the average age for cataract surgery? – While many people are diagnosed with cataracts in their 40s, the average age for cataract surgery is 65. That said, there is no one age that’s better for cataract surgery than others. In fact, the average age for cataract surgery has been decreasing over the past few years,