What Tests are Done Before Cataract Surgery?

You may be interested in cataracts, and in what tests are done before surgery. Cataracts are not a disease. They develop as a natural part of aging as eye proteins break down. We discuss below the easy, quick, and painless tests we use to detect and diagnose cataracts.

Since you live in Southwest Florida, you are fortunate to have the experts at Elmquist Eye Group nearby in Cape Coral and Fort Myers.

Why do my pupils need to be dilated?

What Tests are Done Before Cataract Surgery?Pupil dilation allows the doctor to better see the structures of the eye, so it aids in diagnosing cataracts. Typically, the clouding of the lens that is characteristic of cataracts is not noticeable until the cataract reaches an advanced size. With dilation, the pupil increases in size and the doctor is then able to see the entire lens in order to thoroughly examine it.

Magnification tests

The doctor will use a special microscope called a slit lamp to magnify the eye in order to examine the lens more closely. This way, the doctor can determine whether a cataract is present, and if so, how severe it is. In the slit lamp test, you place your chin on the chin rest of the slit lamp, then the doctor directs a light at your eye to examine the lens and the degree of cloudiness.

Acuity Tests

Several acuity tests are used to measure the quality of your vision. First, we will conduct a visual acuity test that involves reading letters of varying sizes. We test each eye individually and test your eyes together to determine eyesight at near and far distances. You’ve likely done this test many times, and it is a quick and painless way to fairly easily diagnose the presence of cataracts.

A visual acuity test alone is not extensive enough to do a detailed determination of a cataract. More tests are needed to rule out other conditions that might be causing vision issues. For example, the doctor may conduct a potential acuity (PAM) test. This test measures how well you would see if you did not have a cataract present in the eye. This is a great test because the surgeon needs to determine whether cataract surgery will indeed improve your vision. During the PAM test, a visual acuity eye chart is projected into the eye. The doctor asks you to read the chart, just as you would read the eye chart on a wall. The PAM test also helps doctors determine whether another eye disease might also be present in addition to the cataract.

Finally, the doctor may perform a contrast sensitivity test, which is similar to a visual acuity test. However, this test specifically looks at how a cataract can decrease image contrast. When you have a cataract, colors may seem more dull and muted. This happens because the protein clumps in the cataract cause light to be scattered and not focused. Our doctors use the contrast test because they consider it to provide a more realistic measurement of the true quality of your vision.

Come in for your evaluation

What tests are done before cataract surgery? Now you know! All of these tests are easy, quick, and painless ways to determine whether you have a cataract. What are you waiting for? Come in today tot Elmquist Eye Group in either Cape Coral and Fort Myers for your comprehensive eye exam.