Diagnosis & Co-Management
Cataract Diagnosis & Co-Management
We offer cataract diagnosis and post-operative care in Albuquerque to help you get the full benefits of treatment and see as clearly as possible.
Cataracts are a common occurrence as you get older. At Casey Optical Co. in Albuquerque, New Mexico, our optometrist, Dr. Christine Kniffin, can diagnose cataracts and recommend treatment to help you maintain healthy vision. If surgery is necessary, she will refer you to a trusted ophthalmologist and schedule follow-up visits to ensure a speedy recovery.
What are cataracts?
A cataract is a cloudy area that forms on the normally clear lens of the eye. Cataracts can develop when the proteins in your eyes break down and start to clump together, obstructing the passage of light through the lens. As time goes on, the cataract can worsen, and the lens may become increasingly cloudy.
Risk factors for cataracts
Several factors can increase your risk of developing cataracts, including:
- Age (over 60)
- A family history of cataracts
- Certain medical conditions like diabetes and glaucoma
- Previous eye injury or surgery
- Certain medications such as steroids
- Poor diet with nutritional deficiencies including a lack of antioxidants
- Prolonged exposure to UV rays without proper eye protection
Symptoms of cataracts
Cataracts usually develop gradually over the course of several years. In the early stages of cataract formation, you may have no symptoms. But as they grow, they can cause vision issues.
If you’re experiencing blurry vision, sensitivity to light, difficulty seeing at night, halos around lights, reduced color intensity, or frequent changes in your eyeglass prescription, you may have cataracts. Additionally, reading small print on menus or other materials may become difficult.
At Casey Optical Co. in Albuquerque, NM, Dr. Kniffen can diagnose cataracts and a range of other eye diseases during an eye exam. She will perform a series of tests to assess your overall eye health, including a slit lamp exam which uses a low-power microscope to check for signs of cataract formation and other conditions. She may also measure the pressure within each eye, test your color vision, and evaluate your sensitivity to glare and light.
Treatment for cataracts
Treatment for cataracts will depend on how much they are affecting your vision and your ability to perform everyday tasks. If cataracts are not significantly affecting your vision, no treatment may be needed. Your doctor may ask you to monitor for increased symptoms and recommend regular eye exams to see if your condition worsens. In some cases, adjusting your eyeglass prescription may temporarily improve your vision.
Most patients do not require immediate surgery. Whether or not you need cataract surgery will depend on how your vision affects your safety, independence, and ability to perform daily activities like reading or watching television.
When cataracts interfere with your ability to perform everyday tasks, surgery is the only solution. Your eye doctor will determine whether you’re ready for surgery and recommend a trusted ophthalmologist.
Cataract surgery involves removing your existing lens and replacing it with a new artificial lens. You can expect your vision to improve within a few days or weeks after cataract surgery. Dr. Kniffen at Casey Optical Co. will schedule follow-up visits with you to monitor your progress and recovery.
Although there’s no guaranteed way to prevent cataracts, there are measures you can take to reduce your risk:
- Wear sunglasses when spending time outdoors
- Maintain a healthy diet
- Manage other health conditions such as diabetes and hypertension
- Use protective eyewear when playing sports
- Exercise regularly
- Quit smoking
The best form of prevention is to schedule regular eye exams with a qualified optometrist. Our eye doctor is experienced in diagnosing cataracts and providing pre- and post-operative care for cataract surgery. If you are concerned about cataracts, contact us today to schedule your eye exam at our office in Albuquerque.