Diagnosing and Treating Cataracts


A cataract is a common vision problem that is mostly related to aging. It refers to the clouding of the eyes’ lenses, affecting vision. Cataracts generally progress slowly and present cloudy, discolored lenses, blurred vision, double vision, and light sensitivity as symptoms.


How Is Cataract Diagnosed?


An eye doctor diagnoses a cataract by conducting a comprehensive eye examination. The test shall include the following:


  • Health Background. Your optometrist or ophthalmologist will start by discussing your overall health condition and the medical history of your immediate family. Your doctor will also likely ask about sun exposure, smoking habits, diseases like hypertension or diabetes, and if you are taking any medications.

  • Vision History. Aside from your health and medical history, your doctor will also ask about when you had your last complete eye exam. To get a better picture, your doctor will examine how well you can see at present and discuss any recent vision changes. He or she will also talk about eye diseases that you or your family member have had, eye injuries, and treatments.

  • Visual Acuity Testing. This test will assess how sharp and clear your vision is. Your doctor will test each eye individually to check your ability to see letters of various sizes. Here, your vision will also be tested using different lenses. This way, your doctor will know if your vision can be improved with corrective glasses or contact lenses.

  • Visual Field Testing. This test will help measure how wide of an area each of your eyes can see upon focusing on a central point. Here, your doctor will discover how much vision you have in each eye, identify if you have blind spots, and determine how much vision loss may have occurred over time.

  • Eye Health Evaluation. Your eyes’ external parts will also be inspected to detect signs of cataract and other eye diseases. A slit-lamp exam will check your iris, lens, cornea, and other components at the front of your eye to spot any abnormalities. The presence of clefts, fissures, yellowing of the lenses, and white opacities indicate a cataract. Your doctor may also perform a dilated eye exam to examine your retina and optic nerve.


How Is Cataract Treated?


Cataracts generally do not cause any symptoms until the cloudy patch has grown large enough to affect your vision. If the symptoms do not bother you very much or impact your everyday life, you might only need a new pair of prescription glasses to see better.


However, you should consider surgical treatment if your cataract prevents you from functioning as needed. Unfortunately, cataracts that have progressed to the point that it impairs your daily life cannot be treated with medication or glasses. The only effective treatment to restore your sight is surgery. During the procedure, the cloudy lens will be removed and replaced with a plastic lens implant.


Like most diseases, early detection provides for early treatment. Are you suffering from a cloudy vision? Don’t let cataract progress and affect your vision permanently. Call the Eyecare Center of Snohomish today in Snohomish, Washington, to schedule your comprehensive eye exam.

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