How Do Doctors Diagnose Cataracts?

Question: How do doctors diagnose cataracts?

Answer: Cataracts are diagnosed fairly easily in the office during a comprehensive examination of the eyes, when a slit lamp, a biomicroscope, is utilized to examine the inner and outer structures of the eye. This microscope shines a beam of light into the eye and allows the doctor to check if there is lens opacity and if so, how dense, how significant that opacity is and in which layers of the lens it's present. Having established that a patient has a symptomatic cataract, the treatment is surgical. There is no medical treatment of a cataract. It always involves surgery, which is typically done under a local anesthetic in an operating room, through a microscope, in which a tiny incision – about a tenth of an inch in size – is made into the eye where the cornea – the clear portion – meets the colored portion of the eye. And then the doctor uses an ultrasonic technique, using a tiny vibrating ultrasonic probe to break up and remove the clouded lens. Once this is removed, a replacement clear lens is put in a natural place in the eye where the clear lens has been removed.

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