How Cataract is Diagnosed and How to Prevent it

ID-10058621Your doctor (eye surgeon) may perform some tests/exams to determine if you have cataract.

Visual acuity test:

Your doctor will ask you to read from a chart from a distance (usually 6 meters) that contains letters and words of various sizes. Both eyes are tested separately. One eye is covered while checking the other eye.

Slit-lamp examination:

Slit-lamp examination allows your doctor (eye surgeon) to examine your eyes (cornea, lens, iris etc.) directly under magnification and illumination and determine if you have cataract.

The lens can also be examined directly to check if there is any opacity or clouding using a simple torch or an ophthalmoscope.

Retinal examination:

Your doctor will dilate pupils of your eyes (with medication known as mydriatics) and examine retina (at the back of the eye).

Prevention of cataract:

It is not possible to know what exactly cause cataract and there are no scientifically proven methods for prevention of cataract. However, taking certain precautions (such as wearing sunglasses that can protect from ultraviolet radiation/light) can reduce incidence of cataract among high-risk individuals. The following measures can reduce the risk of cataract:

  • Wear protective sunglasses: ultraviolet light can cause cataract and wearing of protective sunglasses (especially sunglasses that can protect from UV-B) can reduce risk of cataract.
  • Quit smoking: smoking is one of the causative factors of cataract, hence, quitting smoking can reduce risk of cataract. Ask your doctor to help to quit smoking.
  • Regular eye exams: regular eye exams can detect cataract and other eye problems at early stages. Get eye exams regularly as recommended by your eye surgeon.
  • Manage other health problems well: various common health problems (such as diabetes, hypertension, thyroid and parathyroid problems) can increase risk of cataract. Manage your general health problems well to reduce risk of cataract.
  • Eat healthy food: consume lots of fresh frits and vegetables to get adequate vitamins, minerals, micronutrients and anti-oxidants, which help in reducing oxidative stress (oxidative stress can damage lens, micro blood vessels and other vital structures) and reduce risk of cataract and other health problems.
  • Maintain healthy boy weight: obesity is one of the causative factors of cataract. Maintain healthy/optimal body weight to prevent cataract and other common health problems associated with obesity.

Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane /

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