Diagnosing age-related cataracts
NHS ChoicesMedical Reference
If you have problems with your vision, you should make an appointment to see your optician (also known as an optometrist). An optometrist can examine your eyes and test your sight. They are trained to recognise sight defects and eye conditions.
The optometrist may look at your eyes with an instrument called an ophthalmoscope. An ophthalmoscope has a light on the end that produces a magnified image of your eye. By shining a bright light into your eye, the ophthalmoscope enables the optometrist to look inside your eye.
If you have cataracts, your optometrist will be able to see them in your eye. They will also be able to see how much of your lens is affected.
In some cases, you may be referred to an ophthalmologist, or an ophthalmic surgeon, who will be able to confirm the diagnosis and plan your treatment. Ophthalmologists and ophthalmic surgeons are medical doctors who specialise in eye conditions and their treatment.
Sometimes, cataracts are diagnosed during a regular eye test, even if you have had no symptoms. NHS sight tests are free to certain people, including those who are 60 years of age or over.
See NHS opticians FAQ for more information about eye tests. In general, you should have your eyes tested every two years.
- The transparent structure at the front of your eye, just behind your pupil (the black circle in the centre of your eye).
- An optometrist (ophthalmic optician) examines eyes and tests sight. They can prescribe glasses and contact lenses, and are trained to recognise sight defects and eye diseases.
- A medical instrument with a light on the end that produces a magnified image of your eye.