Information about How Cataracts Are Diagnosed

To diagnose cataracts, your ophthalmologist will review your history, particularly asking about difficulties with driving, reading, or other activities. The doctor will also perform a comprehensive eye exam. This exam includes a visual acuity test, during which you will be asked to read a standard eye chart to determine how well you see at various distances.

The doctor may test your sensitivity to glare by having you read the chart with and without bright lights. Sensitivity to bright light can be a sign of cataracts.

In addition, the doctor will perform a dilated eye exam, dilating your pupils with eyedrops and then using a device called an ophthalmoscope to examine your retina and optic nerve. He or she will also perform a tonometry test to measure the pressure inside your eye.

Publication Review By: Susan B. Bressler, M.D., Harry A. Quigley, M.D., Oliver D. Schein, M.D., M.P.H.

Published: 01 Mar 2011

Last Modified: 04 Nov 2014