Ask an Eye M.D. Answer Archive
Are cataracts preventable and how do you make the diagnosis as opposed to other vision disorders?
Everyone, if they live long enough, will get cataracts. As aging of our natural lens takes place the lens is renamed a cataract. In this aging process the lens loses its clarity and can cause optical aberrations. Your ophthalmologist will look into your eye at the lens and surrounding tissues with a special microscope called a slit lamp. How your eye takes in light and the sharpness of your vision will also be tested. A cataract does not always require surgery—sometimes a change in eyeglass prescription is adequate to restore functioning vision. Whether a cataract is removed usually depends on the cataract's impact on the quality of life. Fortunately, cataract removal surgery is usually quite successful for those who require it. But, as with any surgical procedure, there are risks. As you age, it's important to have routine eye exams. Although cataracts can usually be managed successfully, there may be other conditions, such as glaucoma, that if not managed well can lead to permanent vision loss. An ophthalmologist, an Eye M.D. specially trained in the diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases, can make the diagnosis of cataracts and recommend whether surgery or a change in eyeglasses is needed.
Answered by: Andrew Iwach, MD
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