Your Optometrist's Role in Diagnosing and Treating Cataracts
In a healthy eye, the lens correctly focuses light on the retina, sending a properly focused image to the brain. Among the eye diseases that can distort the light cast on the retina are cataracts, which involve the clouding of the lens, resulting in the eye's inability to focus light on the retina correctly. Correctly diagnosing certain eye diseases at early stages is critical, so if you live in or near Columbia, MO, contact Andrew Stone Optometry to schedule an eye exam.
Who Gets Cataracts?
Although cataracts can occur among younger people, they most often occur among those over 60 and become increasingly likely as we age. In addition to age, other factors contributing to the development of cataracts include:
- Diabetes mellitus
- Exposure to ultraviolet radiation
- Smoking and alcohol use
Diagnosis and Early Treatment of Cataracts
Cataracts are sometimes diagnosed when a patient visits an eye doctor complaining of cloudy or blurred vision, difficulty driving at night, light sensitivity, and seeing halos around lights. However, since these same symptoms can be associated with other eye diseases, cataracts are best diagnosed through regular comprehensive examinations by an eye doctor. A Doctor of Optometry or optometrist checks for signs of cataracts as part of these exams.
While changes in diet, stopping smoking, and wearing sunglasses can slow the progression of cataracts, corrective lenses are the primary treatment in the early stages. However, if cataracts progress to the point that they interfere with everyday living, your optometrist may recommend surgery, which an ophthalmologist typically performs.
The Optometrist's Role in Cataract Surgery
Although optometrists do not perform cataract surgery, they are vital in coordinating and providing care. Having diagnosed and monitored cataracts, they will consider the condition and severity of your cataracts, your lifestyle, general medical condition, and personal goals when recommending the appropriate surgeon for your needs. Your optometrist may also have recommendations about the surgery, so your optometrist and eye surgeon must have a good relationship focused on patient care.
Post-surgery, your optometrist will play a significant role in monitoring your recovery and will determine the effect of the surgery after the healing process is completed. Often, successful cataract surgery means that patients only need glasses to correct for nearsightedness after the surgery. Particularly as you age, it is important to schedule comprehensive eye examinations to ensure you obtain the best possible eye care.
Contact Andrew Stone Optometry in Columbia, MO
Regular examinations by an optometrist allow the diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment of cataracts and other vision issues. To ensure a qualified optometrist or other specialist examines your eyes, call Andrew Stone Optometry to schedule an appointment to address all your optometry needs.