When a normally clear lens of your eye clouds, you have a cataract. People with cataracts feel like seeing through a frosty or fogged-up window. A clouded vision makes it difficult to read, drive a car (especially at night) or see a person’s expressions.
Cataracts develop slowly and do not affect the eyesight early on. But eventually, it will. The initial stage of cataracts can be dealt with stronger lighting and eyeglasses. But when your vision gets impaired and it interferes with your routine activities, you might need a cataract surgery. Fortunately, it is a safe and effective procedure.
To detect if you have cataracts, you will have to consult a doctor who will review your medical history and symptoms. He will also perform an eye examination and may conduct several tests.
The tests that your doctor might want you to take in order to accurately diagnose cataracts are:
Visual Acuity Test: This test uses an eye chart to measure how well you can read a series of letters. Your one eye will be tested while the other will be covered. The eyes will then be switched to test. /the chart has a series of progressively smaller letters, and helps your doctor to determine if your 20/20 vision is correct or impaired.
Slit-lamp Examination: Your doctor will use a slit-lamp to see the structures at the front of your eye under examination. It is a microscope and uses an intense line of light, a slit, to eliminate your cornea, iris, lens, and the space between your iris and cornea. Your doctor can view the structures in small sections through the slit, which makes it easier to detect any tiny abnormalities.
Retinal Examination: For a retinal exam, your doctor will put dilating drops in your eyes to open your pupils wide. This makes it easier for him to examine your retina, i.e. the back of your eyes. Then, he will use a slit lamp or an ophthalmoscope to examine your lens for signs of cataract.
Surgery is the only effective treatment for cataracts. Your doctor will guide you if surgery is right for you and it is mostly considered when the condition starts affecting your quality of life or interfere with your ability to perform daily chores such as reading or driving at night.
After a cataract surgery, you will feel slight discomfort in your eyes for a few days but generally, eight weeks is all you need to completely heal.
If you need cataract surgery in both eyes, your doctor will schedule surgery to remove the cataract in the second eye a month or two after the first surgery.
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