Broadway Eyecare
303 Stonebridge Blvd Suite #1 Saskatoon SK S7T 0C7 (306) 664-2638


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Saskatoon, SK / (306) 653-2993

Can an Optometrist Diagnose Cataracts?

Can an Optometrist Diagnose Cataracts?

An eye doctor holding down the right lower eyelid of his patient to check its health.

Cataracts are an eye condition often associated with aging and involves the clouding of the lens of your eye, which causes vision to be blurred. Cataracts can cause vision loss, but it is treatable. 

Your optometrist can diagnose cataracts by conducting several tests during an eye exam. Based on the stage of cataracts, they can recommend prescription updates or surgery to provide clearer vision.

What Are Cataracts?

Cataracts often develop due to the natural clouding of the eye’s lens due to aging. The lens helps to focus light entering the eye onto the retina (the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye) to form a clear image. The eye’s lens consists of water and proteins, but when these proteins start to clump together, they can cloud areas of the lens, which is a cataract. 

Cataracts often form slowly and are subtle in their development, causing a gradual decline in vision. At first, stronger lighting and eyeglasses can help with cataracts, but as the condition progresses, it could interfere with daily activities such as reading, driving, or recognizing faces. 

You can develop cataracts in one or both eyes, together or at different times. Cataracts can also develop rapidly over several months. 

Types of Cataracts

There are various types of cataracts besides age-related cataracts, including:

  • Traumatic cataracts result from eye injuries that directly damage the lens
  • Radiation cataracts result from prolonged exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV) from sunlight
  • Congenital cataracts occur in babies born with cataracts
  • Secondary cataracts are caused by medical conditions like diabetes or after surgery or an eye infection

Cataract Symptoms

As a cataract gradually forms, it doesn’t immediately affect your vision. Signs and symptoms often become noticeable months to years after the development of a cataract. 

Common symptoms of cataracts include:

  • Cloudy or blurry vision
  • Double vision
  • Glare and light sensitivity
  • Need for brighter light when reading
  • Diminished colour perception
  • Noticing halos around lights
  • Trouble with night driving

Symptoms can vary depending on the type of cataract and its progression. Some types of cataracts might not cause changes to your vision, but others do lead to significant vision loss over time, necessitating treatment.

Role of Optometrists in Diagnosing Cataracts

Optometrists provide primary eye care services, including comprehensive eye exams, vision correction, and diagnosis and treatment of eye conditions. With regular eye exams, your optometrist can monitor your eye health and detect and diagnose cataracts.

During an eye exam, your optometrist will conduct tests to diagnose cataracts. 

Visual Acuity Test

One of the simplest and most common tests is the visual acuity test. This test involves checking how well you can see and if your eyeglasses prescription still provides clear vision. If your prescription has changed, it could indicate a cataract has developed. 

Retinal Examination

A retinal exam allows your optometrist to inspect the retina for early signs of cataracts. Through pupil dilation, they can get a better view of the inside of the eye, the lens, and the overall health of your eye.

An eye doctor conducting a slit-lamp examination on his patient to check for signs of cataracts.

Slit-Lamp Examination

A slit lamp is a specialized microscope with a bright light that lets your optometrist examine the back of the eye and the lens for cataracts in high magnification. 

Cataract Treatment

During the early stages of a cataract, your optometrist may prescribe glasses to provide clear vision for everyday tasks. However, when cataracts progress to a stage where they begin to impact your quality of life and normal vision, which glasses can no longer improve, your optometrist may recommend further evaluation and potential surgery.

Cataract Surgery

Cataract surgery is the only way to treat a cataract and is done separately on each eye. Cataract surgery involves removing the cloudy lens from the eye and replacing it with a clear, artificial lens. Cataract surgery is one of Canada’s most common and low-risk surgeries. 

Preventing Cataracts

While you can’t stop a cataract from forming, there are things you can do to reduce your risk of cataracts, such as:

  • Protecting your eye from excessive sun exposure by wearing sunglasses
  • Quitting smoking
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Managing health problems

Attend regular eye exams even if you do not notice any vision changes. Early diagnosis and intervention can prevent cataracts from severely impacting your vision.

If you’ve been diagnosed with cataracts, adhere to your optometrist’s and ophthalmologist’s recommended follow-up schedule and treatment plans. Being an active participant in your eye care can lead to better outcomes.

The Optometrist’s Role in Cataract Care

Cataracts are part of the natural aging process, but with early detection and coordinated care, clear vision and the enjoyment of life’s visual details can remain. A visit to your optometrist can be your first step in the comprehensive care of cataracts. 

Book an eye exam with Broadway Eyecare if you’re at high risk, have a family history of cataracts, or are over 60. 

Visit Our Office

Broadway Eyecare is conveniently located on the corner of Broadway & Main Street, just around the corner from Oskayak High School.


Unit #130 616 Main Street
Saskatoon, SK, S7H 0J6

Contact Number

Phone: (306) 653-2993
After Hours Emergencies: 306-371-9911
Email: [email protected]
Fax: 306-653-2995

Hours of Operation

Monday: Closed, but we’d be happy to see you at Stonebridge Eyecare, Pinehouse Eyecare, Warman Eyecare, or Brighton Eyecare!
Tuesday: 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday: 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday: 12:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Friday: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday: 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM (with the exception of long weekends)
Sundays: Closed
Holidays & Long Weekends: Closed

We understand that life is busy, and it isn’t always convenient to take time out of your workday to visit your optometrist. To help serve you better, we offer Saturday appointments and have extended hours on Thursdays.

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