Screening for Cataracts

Screening is done to find a health problem early and treat it. Tests are usually given to people who do not have symptoms but who may be at high risk for the health problem.

Screening Guidelines

Ask your doctor when you should be screened. Healthy adults who are not at risk for eye disease may be screened:

  • At least once between age 20 to 29
  • At least twice between age 30 to 39
  • Age 40 to 64: every 2 to 4 years
  • Age 65 and older: every 1 to 2 years

You may need to be screened more often if you:

  • Have risk factors for cataracts, glaucoma, or other eye problems
  • Have a personal or family history of eye problems
  • Have had a serious eye injury in the past
  • Had eye surgery in the past
  • Are taking a corticosteroid medicine
  • Have diabetes, high blood pressure, or other chronic illness

Screening Tests

A full eye exam screens for cataracts. The exam may have a:

  • Visual acuity test —This eye chart test measures how well you see distances.
  • Dilated eye exam —You will be given eye drops to widen your pupil. This will let the doctor see your lens and the back of the eye.
  • Tonometry —This test measures fluid pressure in your eye. Too much may be a sign of glaucoma.
  • Slit lamp exam —This test uses a microscope to get a better view at the eye.
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References:

Cataracts in adults. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116240/Cataracts-in-adults. Updated August 16, 2018. Accessed February 13, 2019.
Facts about cataract. National Eye Institute website. Available at: https://nei.nih.gov/health/cataract/cataract_facts. Updated September 2015. Accessed February 13, 2019.
Get Screened at 40. American Academy of Ophthalmology website. Available at: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/screening. Updated June 8, 2014. Accessed February 13, 2019.
Vision screening recommendations for adults over 60. American Academy of Ophthalmology website. Available at: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/seniors-screening. Updated March 3, 2014. Accessed February 13, 2019.
Vision screening recommendations for adults under 40. American Academy of Ophthalmology website. Available at: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/young-adults-screening. Updated July 17, 2012. Accessed February 13, 2019.
Visual acuity test: performing. EBSCO Nursing Reference Center website. Available at: http://www.ebscoho.... Updated February 16, 2018. Accessed February 13, 2019.
What are cataracts? American Academy of Ophthalmology website. Available at: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-are-cataracts. Updated November 9, 2018. Accessed February 13, 2019.
Last reviewed December 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review BoardJames P. Cornell, MD
Last Updated: 2/13/2019

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