Health

How to Diagnose and Treat Cataracts

People over the age of 60 often find that their vision has become cloudy or blurry. Why? What could be causing them to lose their ability to see clearly? Older adults all too often develop cataracts which cause their vision to be blurry. When this happens, they should see an eye doctor for a diagnosis and treatment.

Cataract Symptoms

Cataracts may make your world look hazy. When your eye’s lens clouds over, it may be caused by cataracts. You may have a cataract in one eye or in both. To correct your vision, you may need treating cataracts, but it is possible surgery will be necessary.

Cataract Diagnosis

If a person suspects he or she has cataracts, he or she should see an eye doctor. The doctor will ask what symptoms the person is experiencing. Is what he or she sees hazy or blurry? At night, the glare of lights may bother a person. After looking at a person’s eyes, the doctor may do one or more of the following tests.

Test of Visual Acuity

The doctor determines exactly how sharp the patient’s vision is by asking him or her to read letters on a chart from a distance. One eye of the person is tested, and then the other eye will be tested.

Exam of Slit-Lamp

For this exam, the doctor checks the different parts of the patient’s eye with a microscope that has a bright light attached to it. This allows the doctor to see the clear, outer layer of the cornea. The colored part of a person’s eye is the iris. The doctor will also examine the patient’s iris and the lens sitting behind the iris. As light enters a person’s eye the lens bends the light allowing a person to see things clearly.

Exam of the Retina

In order to see the retina of a patient, a doctor must widen the pupils, dark spots in the middle of a patient’s eyes. The job of these dark spots is to control the amount of light that gets into a patient’s eye. By putting drops into a patient’s eye, the patient’s pupils will widen. Once the eyes’ pupils widen, the doctor is better able to see the patient’s retina, the tissue at the back of a person’s eyes. The doctor now has an improved view of the patient’s cataract.

Treating Cataracts

The only way to cure cataracts is surgery. However, the surgery can be postponed for a little while. For instance, if the problem is diagnosed while it is in an early stage, a new prescription for a person’s glasses can put off surgery temporarily. A person’s vision can be improved with a stronger lens for a while.

A magnifying glass or a brighter lamp can help anyone having difficulty reading due to cataracts. There are special glasses with an anti-glare coating to help anyone whom glare causes a problem. These special glasses will help when a person drives at night.

If a person’s cataracts interfere with a person’s daily routine or make driving dangerous, it’s time to consider surgery.

Cataract Surgery

Cataract surgery usually takes less than an hour. The surgery procedure begins with the surgeon making a tiny cut in the front of a patient’s eye. The surgeon may use a laser to do this tiny cut. Then the surgeon uses a small tool which breaks up the patient’s cataract and also uses suction to remove it.

The second step of the surgery is to place a new lens into the eye. The lens that the surgeon places into the eye are made of silicone, plastic, or acrylic. The last step is to close the cut.

The patient usually doesn’t have to stay at the hospital overnight. However, a family member or friend will need to drive the patient home.

Two separate surgeries are usually done for patients who have cataracts in both eyes.