Preparing for Cataract Eye Surgery: 5 Diagnostic Tests

As you age, the normally clear lens of your eye can become more opaque in some spots; this is known as cataracts and can produce vision that is blurry or foggy. Cataracts often develop slowly and imperceptibly, but eventually produce symptoms that become difficult to ignore. Cataract eye surgery can restore clear vision by removing your cloudy lens and replacing it with a clear, artificial one, also known as an intraocular lens (IOL). The surgery is quick and long lasting, but it must be preceded by diagnostic testing to assess your candidacy.

Tests performed by Woodhams Eye Clinic to provide the best posssible vision:

Refraction Test: EPIC-5100

One of the benefits of swapping out a cloudy lens with a new one during cataract eye surgery is that there is an opportunity to correct refractive errors at the same time. The first general test you will undergo is refraction testing, which will reveal the current state of your natural vision. Woodhams uses the EPIC-5100 Vision Diagnostic System to measure the degree of any refractive error you may have, and this will help determine the power of the replacement lens you need. If you are over 50 years of age, a brightness acuity test (BAT) will also be carried out to measure your sensitivity to glare.

Biometric Test: LENSTAR

The LENSTAR LS 900 is a sophisticated optical biometer that can quickly capture data about your eye's individual elements and structure. With one reading, this test determines important values and measurements, such as the thickness of your lens, cornea, and retina, and the precise position of your lens within your eye (the anterior chamber depth). This test can also help calculate what the refractive power of your new replacement IOL should be, even if you've had previous corrective eye surgery such as LASIK.

Ultrasound Test: A-Scan

Ultrasound technology can be used to generate images of your lens and eye structure. The A-Scan, MedlinePlus notes, helps determine the precise width of artificial lens that should be used to replace your own lens. Your eye will need to be numbed temporarily with anesthetic drops, and then a special probe, or transducer, will be touched to the surface of your eye. This test is painless, quick, and without risk (but avoid rubbing your eye while it's still numb).

Retinal Imaging: Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT)

This is a noninvasive test that uses light waves to generate cross-sectional images of all the layers of your retina. As part of a cataract eye surgery assessment, it will also provide valuable information about retinal thickness and detect any early signs of glaucoma. Your eye will need to be dilated first and then will be scanned by the OCT machine. For a short time afterwards, your eyes may be sensitive to light from the dilation.

Optical Quality Test: Optical Quality Analysis System (OQAS)

The OQAS measures the optical quality of the eye. A punctual light source is imaged on your retina and then analyzed as it passes through the ocular structures of your eye.

Corneal Mapping: Pentacam HR

The Pentacam HR is another advanced diagnostic tool that can analyze and measure ocular structures like the corneal surface and lens. It is a very fast and precise test; within a matter of seconds, it can generate a comprehensive 3D model of the front of your eye. It also determines the density of your lens, which indicates the degree of cataract in your eye. Having this test performed periodically will reveal if your cataract is changing over time, as increasingly higher values indicate that the lens is becoming denser and therefore more cataractous.

Would you like to talk to someone here at Woodhams about cataract surgery? Enter your information below and one of our patient care advocates will reach out to you or you can call us at 770-394-4000.

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