A cataract eye test is best done by an optometrist. They will use a special magnifying light to examine the lens of the eye, looking for cloudiness. In this way they can even diagnose early cataracts.

It’s important to note that cataracts are a normal part of the ageing process of the eye. The lens becomes yellow at first and then develops cloudy areas.

So a cataract can interfere with your quality of life. Cataract may limit your ability to drive or read. That’s when it’s time to talk to an eye surgeon about having your cataract removed in a microsurgery procedure.

Testing for cataract

At The Eye Practice, we perform the following cataract eye tests:

Our optometrists can view the front of the eye using this instrument. By using a high-powered lens, we can also see your retina.

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.

Cataract often occurs with other eye diseases, such as macular degeneration. Many of the retinal changes that occur in macular degeneration happen under the surface where we can’t see them. OCT allows us to take an image of the deeper layers of the retina to see what is going on under the surface. So we can pick up the signs of macular degeneration before the outward signs appear.  For more on how OCT works, see our OCT page.

Test early

The earlier cataracts are identified, the more succesful the treatment. So check-ups are recommended at least once a year, especially for people aged over 50 years.

What if my eye test shows I have cataract?

If your eye test shows you have cataract you will probably need treatment. That treatment depends on your symptoms.

Most people with early cataract only require monitoring with a cataract eye test once a year.

You won’t need to have surgery until you feel your vision is no longer good enough for the things you enjoy. In fact, age usually determines whether or not to get surgery. For instance, if you don’t drive at night and are retired, you may be happy to put up with early or even moderate cataract. However, someone who drives a lot at night or likes to do needlework may find even early cataract is impacting on their quality of life.

When cataract starts to impact your vision, it’s time to see the surgeon. Occasionally though, it’s best to remove a cataract sooner rather than later. This may happen if they are very dense or if you have other eye diseases such as glaucoma.

What happens after my cataract eye test – do I need a referral?

If we find a cataract that is significantly impacting your quality of life, we will refer you to an eye surgeon. Cataract micro-surgery is the only effective treatment.

We work closely with highly-experienced eye surgeons. When they remove your cataract, they can also reduce or eliminate your need for glasses after surgery.

After the cataract is removed you will still need to have regular eye tests – usually annually – for the rest of your life.