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Cataracts

Cataracts are a common cause of decreased vision. They can occur at any age, but especially after age 60. A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens in the eye. Cataracts can cause your vision to look blurry, hazy or less colorful. When cataracts are removed, the natural lens is almost always replaced with an artificial lens, and this restores vision. Cataract surgery is the foremost treatment for cataracts because the results are typically excellent. Several of our ophthalmologists are expert cataract surgeons with extensive experience.

Diagnosing cataracts

The ophthalmologists at Virginia Mason Franciscan Health will first perform a comprehensive eye exam, including dilation of your eyes to widen your pupils. In addition, your ophthalmologist may conduct other tests to check for cataracts, such as:

  • A slit-lamp exam uses a special microscope combined with a bright light source to examine the cornea, iris, lens and the other areas at the front of the eye. Using a slit-lamp microscope makes it easier to spot abnormalities. 
  • A retinal exam involves dilating the eye, so the pupil is wide open. Then, using a slit lamp, an ophthalmoscope or both, the ophthalmologist looks for signs of cataracts. 
  • A refraction and visual acuity test assesses the clarity and sharpness of your vision.

Cataract treatment

The only way cataracts can be removed is through surgery. During cataract surgery, an eye surgeon will remove your eye’s cloudy natural lens and replace it with an artificial lens.

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Don’t let cataracts stop you from participating in the activities you love.