Cataracts are something that will affect everyone at some point. They are a natural part of life. Given a long enough life, everyone will experience them at some point to some degree.
While that notion may seem upsetting, there is actually some good news. Due to their prevalence, cataracts are well understood and easier to remove than ever before. Keep reading to learn what you can expect when you have cataracts!
Most people know that cataracts will cause vision loss at some point. This loss of eyesight is generally gradual for people with the most common form of cataracts.
It is also not the only symptom that you should be on the lookout for. Other symptoms include:
- Sensitivity to light
- Dim vision, making it difficult to see at night or requiring you to have more lights on in your house
- Visual aberrations such as halos appearing around lights or double vision
- Experiencing second sight where your vision temporarily becomes better but quickly deteriorates
- Frequently having to change your prescription for your glasses or contacts
- Noticing that colors look more faded, yellow, or brown-tinted
One thing you may notice about cataracts is they share symptoms with many other eye problems. This is why regular eye exams are so crucial. If you feel like something is wrong with your vision, get it checked out.
To diagnose cataracts, your doctor will test your vision in several ways. First, your vision will be tested with a visual acuity test.
This test is the recognizable poster on the wall of the doctor’s office that has letters in various sizes. The basic concept of the test is for you to list off the letters row by row.
You’ll continue reading them off as they become smaller and smaller until you can no longer read them. This will give your doctor a good idea about what the state of your vision is like.
A slit-lamp examination is a more hands-on approach to checking your vision status. During this exam, the doctor will use a special device to get a direct look at the inside of your eyes.
The slit lamp is a microscope that uses a very bright and intense light. This light illuminates your cornea, iris, and lens separately. This is not to be confused with a retinal exam, although a slit lamp may be used during one as well.
A retinal exam requires the doctor to dilate your pupils using special eye drops. After dilating your pupils, they will shine a light into them with a slit lamp or an ophthalmoscope.
This allows the doctor to see into the back of your eyes. After this exam, you will have difficulty seeing as your pupils return to normal size.
If you have cataracts, then you will need to wait until the doctor determines it is time for surgery. Cataracts can exist in the eye with little to no effect on your vision for years before you need surgery.
Wondering if you may need cataract surgery? Schedule a cataract screening at Colorado Eye Consultants in Littleton, Co to find out!