Cataracts and Your Eyes
How Are Cataracts Diagnosed?
An eye exam will be given to test how well you can see (remember to bring your glasses or wear your contacts to the appointment). Your doctor will also dilate your pupil in order to examine the condition of the lens and other parts of the eye.
How Are Cataracts Treated?
If your vision can be corrected to an acceptable level with a change in prescription, eyeglasses, including bifocals or contacts, may be prescribed, eliminating the need for surgery at that time.
If your vision loss cannot be corrected with new glasses and cataracts interfere with your daily life, you may be a candidate for cataract surgery, which involves removing the clouded lens and replacing it with a clear, artificial one.
Cataract surgery is usually conducted on an outpatient basis and is very successful in restoring vision. It is the most frequently performed surgery in the U.S., with more than 1.5 million cataract surgeries done each year. Better than nine out of 10 people who have cataract surgery have improvement in vision.
Talk to your doctor to see which treatment is right for you.
Can Cataracts Be Prevented?
Because the exact cause of cataracts is uncertain, there is no proven method of preventing them. Because cataracts and other conditions such as glaucoma are common in older adults, it's important to have your eyes examined on a regular basis.
This is particularly important if you have risk factors or a family history of eye problems. Adults should see an eye doctor at least every two years and annually after age 50.
People with a history of eye problems or other medical conditions that increase the risk of eye disease -- such as diabetes -- may need eye exams more frequently.
Be sure to ask your doctor if you have any risk factors or indications that cataracts or other conditions may affect your vision.