Your eye test for cataract
Cataracts are most commonly diagnosed by an optometrist.
Cataract is diagnosed through a comprehensive eye examination with your optometrist. Using a slit-lamp biomicroscope, your natural lens can be examined for opacities. Even early cataracts can be seen. Cataracts are a normal part of the ageing process of the eye.
Your lens becomes yellow at first and then develops opacities or cloudy areas. Once your cataract is starting to interfere with your quality of life, such as limiting your ability to drive or read, it’s time to talk to an eye surgeon about having your cataract removed in a microsurgery procedure. All patients of The Eye Practice have the following tests:
The retina can be viewed using a powerful magnifying lens. At The Eye Practice we routinely photograph your retina and keep these images with your records for future comparison.
This instrument allows visualisation of the front of the eye. By using a high-powered lens, we can also see your retina.
OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography)
Many of the retinal changes that occur in macular degeneration occur under the surface where we can’t see them. But OCT can. This test allows us to take an image of even the deeper layers of the retina to see what is going on under the surface. Using OCT allows us to pick up the clinical signs of macular degeneration before the visible signs appear. For more on how OCT works, see our OCT page.
What if I have cataract?
If you’re diagnosed with age-related cataract, treatment will depend on the severity of your symptoms. Some cataracts are best removed sooner than later. This may happen if they are very dense or if you have other eye diseases such as glaucoma.
Usually, however, cataract surgery is not indicated until you feel your vision is no longer good enough for the things you enjoy. This depends on your age and whether you are retired or not. If you don’t drive at night and are retired, you may be happy to put up with early or moderate cataract. Someone who drives a lot at night or likes to do needlework etc. may find even early cataract is impacting on their quality of life.
Most people with early cataracts just require monitoring every year to see how they are progressing. If the cataract starts to impact your vision, it’s time to see the surgeon.
The referral process
At this stage you will be referred to an eye surgeon for your procedure. This is the only effective treatment for cataract. We work closely with several highly-experienced eye surgeons. They not only remove your cataract, but they can also reduce or even eliminate your dependence on glasses after your surgery. Whether you need glasses or not, you will still need to have regular eye examinations – usually annually – for the rest of your life.