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The only way to diagnose a cataract with with an eye examination. To detect a cataract, an ophthalmologist or optometrist examines the lens. Other tests evaluate the structure and overall health of the eye. A comprehensive eye examination for cataracts usually includes:

  • Visual acuity test—This eye chart test measures how well you see at various distances. This may include a test of your vision under conditions of low contrast and/or glare.
  • Dilated eye exam—The doctor gives you special eye drops to widen your pupil, which allows better examination of the lens and the structures of the back of the eye. This allows your doctor to examine the lens in more detail to detect a cataract.
  • Slit lamp exam—This is an examination of the eye using a specialized microscope that magnifies the eye.
  • Tonometry—This is a standard test to measure fluid pressure inside the eye (increased pressure may be a sign of glaucoma).

References:

Cataract. American Optometric Association website. Available at: https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/eye-and-vision-problems/glossary-of-eye-and-vision-conditions/cataract?sso=y. Accessed May 10, 2017.

Cataracts. Patient website. Available at: https://patient.info/health/cataracts-2. Updated November 20, 2015. Accessed May 10, 2017.

Cataracts in adults. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116240/Cataracts-in-adults. Updated November 28, 2016. Accessed May 10, 2017.

Facts about cataract. National Eye Institute (NEI) website. Available at: https://nei.nih.gov/health/cataract/cataract_facts. Updated September 2015. Accessed May 10, 2017.

What are cataracts? American Academy of Ophthalmology website. Available at: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-are-cataracts. Updated November 15, 2016. Accessed May 10, 2017.

What is a cataract? NIH Senior Health website. Available at: https://nihseniorhealth.gov/cataract/whatisacataract/01.html. Accessed May 10, 2017.



Last reviewed May 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael Woods, MD, FAAP

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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