Diagnosing cataracts

accreditation
iStock

The diagnosis of cataract is primarily based on a medical history and an eye examination. Vision problems are compared with the results of an eye examination and visual acuity tests to:

  • Confirm the presence of cataracts
  • Rule out other conditions that may cause vision loss

Your healthcare practitioner can see the abnormal lens with a hand-held viewing instrument called an ophthalmoscope.

Note that the usual test for visual acuity, the letter eye chart, may not reflect the true nature of visual loss. Other tests, which measure glare sensitivity, contrast sensitivity, night vision, colour vision, and side or central vision, can help with the diagnosis.

Should your doctor find a cataract, he or she can monitor it and advise you on future treatment.

During the diagnostic examination, an ophthalmologist will measure the shape, size and general health of the eye to determine whether a lens implant will be effective.

Infants are checked for cataracts at birth and during routine visits to health professionals, or parents may detect cataracts in an infant by noticing a white pupil or poor vision in their child.

If cataracts are suspected in an infant or a child, he or she should immediately be referred to an ophthalmologist for evaluation and treatment.

Reviewed by ophthalmologist Dr Viresh Dullabh, MBBCh (Wits) FC Ophth SA (CMSA) MMED (UKZN). September 2018.

Read more:

Symptoms of cataracts

Treating cataracts

Preventing cataracts

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Rand - Dollar
16.79
-1.0%
Rand - Pound
20.26
-0.0%
Rand - Euro
17.08
+0.0%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.59
+0.0%
Rand - Yen
0.12
+0.0%
Gold
1,775.15
0.0%
Silver
19.89
0.0%
Palladium
2,130.50
0.0%
Platinum
937.50
0.0%
Brent Crude
94.92
+0.8%
Top 40
63,114
+1.3%
All Share
69,519
+1.2%
Resource 10
64,042
+2.5%
Industrial 25
84,928
+0.3%
Financial 15
15,675
+1.9%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE