In order to be correctly diagnosed for eye problems such as cataracts, you should see an eye specialist. Eye care specialists such as ophthalmologists or optometrists are trained doctors who specialize in the treatment of vision disorders.
An eye doctor can diagnose cataracts after conducting a thorough eye exam. A specialist will first listen to a description of symptoms, test vision using an eye chart, and examine your the with various instruments. For example, the doctor may shine a light from an ophthalmoscope into the eye to check for cloudiness of the lens or color changes. Or doctors may use a type of microscope called a slit lamp to identify the location of the cataract. The eye specialist may also perform a glare test, to check your reaction to light. Following a complete eye exam, doctors may also require one of the following additional diagnostic procedures:
Retinal examination – Eye doctors use drops to dilate the pupils and look for signs of a cataract and determine how dense the clouding is. This test also permits a doctor to assess the eye for glaucoma and, blurred vision or discomfort, and other problems involving the retina and the optic nerve. Dilation makes it difficult to focus on close objects and it may be more comfortable if you wear sunglasses after the test, especially on a sunny day. Consider asking someone to drive you home after this test.
Slit lamp examination - The slit lamp is a type of microscope that uses a strong line of light (a slit) to light the structures of the eye (cornea, iris, lens and the space between the iris and cornea) in small sections so that doctors can identify abnormalities.
Visual acuity test – This tests the sharpness of vision using letters on a chart from a distance. One eye is tested at a time, while the other is kept covered. The chart has progressively smaller letters from top to bottom, and allows the doctor to assess if you have 20/20 or less acute vision in the eye being tested.
If you are diagnosed with a cataract, you can consider different treatment options with your eye doctor. In fact, cataracts can be corrected with a simply surgery. With proper treatment, most people who are diagnosed with cataracts can expect to experience the return of vision loss. Continue reading the next section on Treating Cataracts to learn more about how to treat cataracts, including cataract surgery and other options.
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