Diagnosis of Cataracts

How is a cataract detected?

Cataract is detected through a comprehensive eye exam that includes:

  1. Visual acuity test. This eye chart test measures how well you see at various distances.
  2. Dilated eye exam. Drops are placed in your eyes to widen, or dilate, the pupils. Your eye care professional uses a special magnifying lens to examine your retina and optic nerve for signs of damage and other eye problems. After the exam, your close-up vision may remain blurred for several hours.
  3. Tonometry. An instrument measures the pressure inside the eye. Numbing drops may be applied to your eye for this test.

Your eye care professional also may do other tests to learn more about the structure and health of your eye.

Source: NEI (NIH)1

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Back to: « Cataracts

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Your doctor or optometrist will examine your eyes with an ophthalmoscope - a hand-held instrument fitted with a lens and light that lets them see the inside of your eye.

If cataracts are suspected, you’ll need to see an eye specialist (ophthalmologist). The eye specialist may carry out more detailed examinations of your eyes and vision to find out the exact location and extent of the cataracts. They’ll then recommend appropriate treatment.

Source: New Zealand Health2

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When your child is very young, it can be difficult to spot signs of cataracts. However, your baby's eyes will be routinely examined within 72 hours of birth and again when they're six to eight weeks old. Sometimes, cataracts can develop in children after these screening tests.

It's particularly important to spot cataracts in children quickly because early treatment can reduce the risk of long-term vision problems. Therefore, you should visit your GP or tell your health visitor if you have any concerns about your child's eyesight.

Read more about the symptoms of childhood cataracts and diagnosing childhood cataracts.

Source: NHS Choices UK3

Tests for Cataracts

Testing for age-related cataracts

Your optician will do a series of eye tests, including a visual acuity exam, which measures how well you see at various distances.

If your optician thinks you have cataracts, you may be referred to an eye specialist (ophthalmologist) for more tests and treatment.

Source: NHS Choices UK4

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  1. Source: NEI (NIH): nei.nih.gov/ health/ cataract/ cataract_facts
  2. Source: New Zealand Health: health.govt.nz/ your-health/ conditions-and-treatments/ diseases-and-illnesses/ eye-and-vision-problems/ cataracts
  3. Source: NHS Choices UK: nhs.uk/ conditions/ childhood-cataracts/ 
  4. Source: NHS Choices UK: nhs.uk/ conditions/ cataracts/ 

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Note: This site is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. See your doctor or other qualified medical professional for all your medical needs.