Cataracts form when the lens of your eye becomes cloudy. The issue is common in older adults and usually results in noticeable vision changes. For instance, your sight may become foggy, and you may have difficulty seeing at night. Some people also experience halos or glare around lights or increased light sensitivity.

As cataracts progress, they can become more visible, taking on a foggy appearance. But in their early stages, eye care professionals can use specific exams to make an accurate diagnosis. Here are some of the techniques commonly used for identifying cataracts.

How Are Cataracts Diagnosed?

Slit-Lamp Exam

During this exam, your eye care professional uses a special slit-lamp microscope to get a closer look at your eye’s structures, including the lens, iris, and cornea. The device contains several different filters, which enable a clearer view of the entire eye, making it easier to detect abnormalities such as cataracts. 

Retinal Exam

A retinal eye exam requires the use of special drops which dilate your eye. The drops are painless, but may cause you to experience temporary light sensitivity. Once your eye is dilated, our professionals can get a better look at its structural components. They may use a slit lamp or a magnifying instrument called an ophthalmoscope during the examination while your eyes are dilated.

Refraction and Visual Acuity Test

Refraction and visual acuity tests are used to gauge how well you’re able to read letters of different sizes. You may be asked to look through a tool called a phoropter, which has a series of different lenses, and read off a chart placed a certain distance away. If you’re struggling to make out certain letters, this can help the doctor determine whether your vision is worsening.

In addition to performing one or more of these tests, your doctor may ask questions about any symptoms you’ve been experiencing, such as vision changes.

What Happens After You’re Diagnosed with Cataracts?

If it’s confirmed that you have cataracts, our team will discuss your options with you. In their early stages, cataracts may not interfere with your daily activities much. You may therefore prefer to hold off on treatment for some time. You should continue receiving regular eye exams, however, as your vision can worsen with cataracts. You may also need to use brighter lights for reading and other activities, and limit or avoid night driving.

When vision changes become more pronounced, you might consider cataract surgery. There are several types available, and advancements in lens technology have made it possible to address other preexisting vision issues, such as nearsightedness or farsightedness. This means you could significantly reduce your need for glasses after the procedure, or potentially avoid the need for glasses altogether.

If you think that you could have cataracts, turn to Eye Consultants of Atlanta for a precise diagnosis and a range of treatment options. Specializing in advanced technology lenses, our eye care professionals can help restore your vision and provide the best possible solution for your specific needs. Request an appointment online or by calling 404-351-2220.