Cataracts are one of the leading causes of blindness in the country. They affect most people at some point in their lives, usually in their sixties or seventies.
If left untreated, they can cause complete vision loss. But this doesn’t have to happen to you.
Since cataracts are so prevalent, cataract surgery is the most common medical procedure in the country. If you have cataracts and they have developed enough, you can get them removed with cataract surgery.
Keep reading to learn how your eye doctor can diagnose your cataracts during an eye exam.
What is a Cataract?
A cataract is the clouding of your eye’s natural lens as you age. It is the result of proteins in your lens breaking down then clumping together in the lens.
This process creates a milky or cloudy lens which gets thicker in color the longer the cataract develops. At some point, this milky lens will be so white that light can no longer pass through, and you need cataract surgery.
How Are Cataracts Diagnosed?
Your eye doctor can diagnose a cataract during an eye exam. Your lens gets whiter as your cataracts develop, and your eye doctor will be able to see this while examining your eye.
First, during a routine eye exam, they test your visual acuity. This test is where you stand twenty feet from a chart with letters on it that get smaller as you go farther down the chart.
If you are in the age range of cataracts and struggle during the visual acuity test, you may have cataracts. To be sure, your eye doctor will perform a slit-lamp examination.
This test uses a thin slit of light and magnification, which allows your eye doctor to see parts of your eye more up-close. It is not surprising when older adults begin to develop cataracts.
Eye doctors know when to begin expecting them. But, the slit lamp exam gives them the evidence they need to diagnose you with cataracts.
Does Cataract Surgery Get Rid of Cataracts?
Cataracts can develop for a long time before they impact your vision. It’s time for you to get cataract surgery when they begin to interfere with your everyday life.
Fortunately, cataract surgery can give you your eyesight back. It does not remove a cataract from your lens because it is in the lens, not on top of it.
Instead, cataract surgery removes your entire lens and replaces it with an artificial one called an intraocular lens or IOL. IOLs come in a wide variety of strengths and capabilities. Your eye doctor will help you find the best one for you.
IOLs can even correct astigmatism with toric model IOLs. If you’ve had astigmatism your entire life, toric model IOLs could give you the best eyesight you’ve ever had.
No matter what type of IOL you select for cataract surgery, they will give you your vision back. All IOLs can give you clear sight, at least at one distance.
Monofocal IOLs correct your vision at one distance, like up-close sight. You still need to use glasses for other refractive distances with a monofocal IOL.
But your vision won’t be blurry, yellow, or feel like you’re looking through a foggy window. Premium IOLs can give you clear sight at all distances depending on the lens you choose.
The only drawback to a premium IOL is they are usually not covered by insurance. Your eye doctor will help you find the right IOL for your lifestyle and goals after cataract surgery.
Do you think cataracts are beginning to impact your vision? Schedule an appointment at Associates in Ophthalmology in Livingston, NJ, to get a cataract screening.
Cataract diagnosis is straightforward and happens during a routine eye exam. It’s the necessary first step to getting your eyesight back!