A cataract develops when the eye lens becomes cloudy. The cloudy lenses block light from passing through the eyes, leading to blurred or cloudy vision. It is common in older people, usually over 60. The condition takes a while before the signs are visible, which means it can affect your vision for years before you realize you have this problem.
During the initial stages of having cataracts, you may hardly notice any symptoms because only a tiny part of the eye gets affected by the cloudiness. But, as the cataract gets more prominent and larger, your eye lens becomes cloudier, blocking light from passing through. At this point, you may notice some of the following signs and symptoms:
Difficulty in seeing at night
Blurred or clouded vision
Fading of colors
Inability to read or do other activities in dim light
If you notice any of the above signs, it is best to see your doctor for an eye checkup or examination.
To determine if your eyes have cataracts, your optometrist may conduct any of the following tests.
Visual Acuity Test
Visual acuity test involves using a chart to determine how comfortable you can read letters without straining. Your doctor can use charts with letters or numbers of different sizes and at different proximities. Usually, you have to take this test with one eye closed to evaluate each eye individually. Through this test, your doctor can tell if you have cataracts or not.
Slit Lamp Examination
Your doctor can use a slit lamp to view the structures of your eyes more clearly. The slit lamp is a special microscope used to magnify your iris, cornea, and the space between your iris and the cornea. Your doctor can view the eye structures at a time or in small sections to ensure any abnormality is noted.
Your pupil has to be dilated to enable the doctor to see the back of your eyes. Therefore, your doctor can use some special eye drops to widen your pupils, making it easy to view other eye structures under a special microscope. That way, your doctor can quickly tell if you have cataracts or not.
The only treatment for cataracts is wearing prescription glasses. If that does not work, the only other way is to undergo surgery to remove the clouded lens.
Cataract surgery is not a must if you can manage the symptoms. However, if you decide to do the surgery, the clouded lens is removed and replaced with an artificial clear lens.
If your cataract is not preventing you from engaging in normal daily activities, you do not need to have the surgery. Be sure to consult your doctor before scheduling the surgery. If you decide to forego the surgery, you must frequent your doctor’s office for checkups and eye examinations. That way, your doctor can monitor the progression of cataracts.
For more information on cataracts, do not hesitate to contact Eye Care Associates in San Bernardino, California. You can also schedule an appointment by calling us at (909) 316-2100.