A Clearer View

Latest treatment options and news about cataracts, dry eye syndrome and other eye care topics.

How are Cataracts Diagnosed?

by Damion Wasylow 28 January 2018 06:49 AM

optometrist performing testing patient with slit lamp
Cataracts are a common vision problem, particularly among senior citizens. By age 75, approximately half of all Americans have cataracts. Diagnosis by an ophthalmologist or an optometrist is a fairly simple procedure, requiring little more than a verbal review of your symptoms followed by a standard eye exam.

Cataracts generally develop fairly slowly, eventually presenting symptoms, including:

  • Cloudy or blurred vision
  • Double vision
  • Lens discoloration
  • Light sensitivity, glare and halos

These cataract symptoms are enough to inspire most patients to schedule a meeting with an eye doctor. During the appointment, the doctor will take a medical history and perform a series of eye tests, likely including:

Visual Acuity Test

This is the test most people associate with a visit to the eye doctor. You’ll be asked to recite the letters on a chart to evaluate the sharpness and clarity of your vision. Your eyes are tested one at a time to identify signs of impairment.

Slit-Lamp Exam

A slit-lamp provides your eye doctor a magnified view of your lens, iris, cornea and the other structures at the front of your eye. This specialized lamp uses an intense slit of light to show these structures in small sections, making it easier to detect tiny irregularities.

Retinal Exam

For the retinal exam, the doctor will use eye drops to dilate (open wide) your pupils. This allows the doctor a better view of the retina in the back of your eye. Using a slit lamp or ophthalmoscope, the physician inspects the retina for signs of cataracts.

If, at the conclusion of this exam, your eye doctor diagnoses you with cataracts, you will move into a discussion of treatment options and timing. If symptoms are not yet interfering with your quality of life, your doctor may suggest holding off for a while.

If it is time for treatment, surgery is your only option. Cataracts cannot be treated with medicine or non-invasive therapy. Surgery is required to remove the affected lens and replace it with an intraocular lens implant.

Many patients today opt for the precision, pain-free results and quick recovery of laser-assisted cataract surgery. North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care ophthalmologist Dr. Gregory Snodgrass was the first local eye physician to use the state-of-the-art LenSx® laser cataract system. He has performed more than 20,000 cataract surgeries and is renowned as a top eye surgeon.

To schedule your cataract evaluation, contact our practice today at 352-373-4300.



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