Has your vision become gradually hazy or dim, without any noticeable eye pain? Do colors appear dull or less lively than they used to? It may be cataracts.
A cataract is a progressive cloudiness, hardening, and yellowing of the generally transparent lens of the eye. Inning accordance with the National Eye Institute, approximately 50% of all Americans will either have a cataract or will have had cataract surgery by age 80.
How Is a Cataract Diagnosed?
An ophthalmologist or optometrist diagnoses a cataract by doing a detailed medical eye assessment, which must include all of the following elements:
A Health and Medication History
- Your overall heath which of your instant family
- The medications you are taking (prescription and over-the-counter).
- Questions about high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes, smoking cigarettes, and sun direct exposure.
A Vision History
- How well you can see at present, consisting of any current modifications in your vision.
- Eye illness that you or your member of the family have had, including macular degeneration and glaucoma.
- Previous eye treatments, surgical treatments, or injuries.
- The date of your last eye assessment.
A Refraction, or Visual Acuity Testing
- Range and near vision acuity tests to determine the sharpness or clearness of your reading and distance vision.
- Evaluating your vision with various lenses (in some cases contained in a device called a phoropter) to identify if your vision can be enhanced or fixed with regular glasses or contact lenses.
Visual Field Testing
- To figure out how much side (or peripheral) vision you have and how much surrounding area you can see.
- The most common kind of visual field test in a regular eye exam is called a fight field test, where the doctor briefly flashes a number of fingers in each of the 4 quadrants of your visual field while seated opposite you.
An Eye Health Evaluation
- An evaluation of the external parts of your eyes and your lens, using a special microscopic lense called a slit lamp. Your doctor will try to find a yellowing of the lens, clefts/fissures, or white opacities that suggest the presence of cataracts.
- A dilated eye (or fundus) examination, which includes using an ophthalmoscope. Special eye drops, such as tropicamide, will dilate, or open, your pupil, which allows the doctor to observe the internal parts of your eye, including the retina and optic nerve.
- A test of the fluid pressure (or aqueous humor) within your eyes.
People who are over 40 must have a dilated eye assessment from an eye doctor or optometrist a minimum of every two years. African Americans and/or individuals with a family history of glaucoma who are over 35 ought to have a dilated eye examination from an eye doctor or eye doctor every year.
Please note: While an ophthalmologist or optometrist can detect a cataract, just an ophthalmologist is qualified to carry out cataract surgery.