How are cataracts diagnosed?

During regular eye exams, an ophthalmologist or optometrist performs a thorough examination of your eyes to determine how the cataracts are impacting your vision. These simple, painless tests include visual acuity, contrast sensitivity and a test that can simulate night vision.

How are cataracts treated?

At first, a change in your eyeglass prescription may temporarily improve vision. There are no eye drops or medications that will make cataracts disappear. Cataracts can only be removed with surgery. After cataracts have advanced to impair daily life, it might be time to explore surgical options. Talk with your doctor to determine a plan that is best for you.

How is cataract surgery performed?

A local or topical anesthetic makes the operation painless. During the procedure, you may see light or movement, but you will not see the surgery while it is happening and you will not have to worry about keeping your eyes open or closed. The skin around your eye will be cleaned thoroughly, and sterile coverings will be place around your head. With modern techniques, no shots are needed for the anesthetic and no stitches are used during the procedure. The cataract is removed through a small, tunnel-like corneal incision with a tiny ultrasonic probe.

What can you expect during cataract surgery?

There is minimal pain during the procedure and only minor irritation afterwards. Patients may experience some blurry vision in the first three days after surgery but the majority of patients experience improving vision immediately after the surgery. Cataract surgery usually involves implantation of intra-ocular lenses (IOL). After surgery, most patients need only mild correction and/or reading glasses.