Cataracts: Your Evaluation

Senior man having eye exam.

An evaluation helps your eye doctor learn more about your vision problems. He or she can tell if cataracts are the cause. This evaluation includes a medical history, vision tests, and an eye exam. What your doctor learns will help him or her find the best treatment options for you.

Medical history

You will be asked questions about your vision and any other eye problems you may have. Your eye doctor will also ask about health problems, such as diabetes. Be sure to tell your doctor about any medicines, vitamins, herbs, or other supplements you are taking.

Vision tests

Your eye doctor will do a few tests to check your vision. You will read from an eye chart. And your vision will be tested under different lighting. If you wear eyeglasses or contact lenses, bring them. Your eye doctor can check your prescription.

An eye exam

In most cases, you will be given eye drops to widen (dilate) your pupils before your exam. During the exam, the doctor looks inside your eye using special equipment. This includes a microscope with a bright light (a slit lamp). Your doctor will also use a lighted, handheld tool (an ophthalmoscope).

Discussing treatment options

After your eye exam, you and your eye doctor will talk about your treatment options. A new eyeglass or contact lens prescription may help your vision for a while. But surgery is the only way to remove a cataract and replace your cloudy lens. If you can still do your daily activities, you may wait to have your cataract removed. You and your eye doctor will decide what’s best for you.

Measuring your eye

If you decide to have cataract surgery, the length of your eye and curvature of your cornea will be measured. This information helps your doctor choose a new lens to replace your cloudy lens. Measurement is done using special tools. These may include an A-Scan, laser interferometry, or a keratometer.

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