Cataract Surgery (cont.)

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How are cataracts diagnosed?

Cataracts are detected by finding lens opacification during a medical eye examination by an eye-care professional. The abnormal lens can be seen using a variety of specialized viewing instruments. Using a variety of tests, a doctor is able to tell how much a cataract may be affecting vision. Usual eye tests include testing visual acuity, glare sensitivity, color vision, contrast sensitivity, and a thorough examination of all other parts of the eye. A thorough eye examination will make sure vision loss is not due to other common eye problems, including diabetes, glaucoma, or macular degeneration.

Most cataracts associated with aging develop slowly, and many patients may not notice visual loss until it is fairly advanced. It is not imperative to have surgery to remove them until they begin to affect vision. The development of cataracts is unpredictable; some cataracts remain less dense and never progress to the point where they cause cloudy vision and require treatment, while others progress more quickly. Thus, the decision and timing to proceed with cataract surgery is individualized for each patient. Your doctor will be able to tell you how much of your vision loss is due to cataracts and the type of visual recovery that may be expected if surgery is chosen.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/30/2014

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