Visiting Your Optometrist For Cataract Evaluation – What to Expect

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If you have difficulty with your sight and suspect a cataract, the first step is to schedule an appointment with your optometrist to have it properly diagnosed.  Based on a comprehensive eye evaluation, your optometrist will help you decide what to do and chalk out a treatment plan.

What is a cataract?

A cataract is caused when the lens of the eye, which is usually clear and transparent gets clouded. This may happen because of age, an injury to the eye or a defect you were born with. The cataract prevents focused light from reaching the eye, resulting in a gradual loss of vision. The symptoms usually range from blurred vision to near-blindness, a frequent need to change eyeglasses, seeing double with one eye, problems with your routine work, reduced colour vision, to difficulty in seeing at night and trouble with reading. Cataracts also make it hard to drive at night.  Bright lights and glares become uncomfortable on the eye.

Getting ready for your evaluation with your Calgary optometrist:

A cataract need not mean that you have to suffer vision loss as it can be treated successfully. A thorough medical eye health examination will be carried out by your optometrist. If detected in its early stages, all you may need for your cataract is a change of glasses to improve your vision. Your doctor will also check for other possible reasons for poor vision. This begins with reading the standard eye chart followed by sensitivity to light, night vision, color test, lateral vision, and your current prescription if you wear eyeglasses, eye pressure, size, shape and reaction of the pupils, and eye curvature. Based on the results of these tests, your optometrist may give you an idea about how much improvement you can expect from treatment. Depending on how far the cataract has progressed and other causes for vision loss, if any, surgery may also be recommended. This is a simple procedure and only advised if your vision can get better after it is done.

 When you arrive for your cataract evaluation appointment with your optometrist, make sure you have your medical history ready, along with details of allergies, your eyeglasses and the prescription, a list of medications you are taking currently and any other relevant information. Have the details of your medical insurance ready. 

Before your evaluation, your pupils are likely to be dilated with drops. Since this is likely to cause blurred vision that lasts an hour or two, it might be a good idea to avoid driving immediately after the tests.

If the cataract is a result of aging, it may probably progress so slowly that you barely notice it. But if it is a result of other conditions such as diabetes and happens in younger people, it can cause rapid vision loss.  Since no one can actually make an accurate guess about this, it is best to get a full evaluation done by your optometrist and get timely treatment.

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