Ophthalmology CRO doctors who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of eye and vision problems. So what is the difference between an ophthalmologist and an optometrist? What about optics? These three types of eye specialists have fairly similar-sounding names and overlapping job descriptions. It can be confusing at first glance.
Here is the difference:
Opticians can help you choose frames for your glasses and provide information on lens types and lens finishes. They cannot perform eye exams, write prescriptions, or diagnose or treat eye problems.
Optometrists can examine your eyes, test your vision, prescribe glasses or contact lenses, and diagnose and treat many eye disorders and diseases. They are not doctors or surgeons, but they can prescribe certain eye medications.
Ophthalmologists also provide eye exams, vision testing, and prescribe glasses or contact lenses. As doctors, they can diagnose and treat all eye problems. They can perform eye surgery and provide follow-up care.
What does an ophthalmologist do?
During a comprehensive eye exam, an ophthalmologist will assess your vision and, if necessary, find your prescription and suggest Vial. They will test how your pupils react to light, check the alignment of your eyes and make sure the muscles that move your eyes are working properly. They will look for any early signs of eye problems, such as cataracts or glaucoma, and examine the back of the eye (the retina) and the optic nerve.
Ophthalmologists diagnose and treat injuries, infections, diseases, and disorders of the eye. Treatment may include drugs taken orally (by mouth) or topically (into the eye), surgery, cryotherapy (freezing treatment), and chemotherapy (chemical treatment).
Education and training
Ophthalmologists attend medical school and then complete several years of specialized training in medical and surgical eye care. Their educational journey includes:
- Bachelor’s degree (4 years)
- Faculty of Medicine (4 years)
- Internship (1 year)
- Residency in ophthalmology (3 years)
After completing their internship, many ophthalmologists complete a 2- to 2-year internship to specialize in a field such as pediatrics (treatment of children), cataract surgery (removal of the clouded lens), or treatment of glaucoma (a disease that damages the optic nerve).
What conditions does an ophthalmologist treat?
Because they are the only medical professionals who can treat all eye disorders, ophthalmologists see a wide variety of eye conditions, including:
- mblyopia (lazy eye)
Macular Degeneration (AMD)
Refractive defects (myopia, hyperopia, etc.)
Retinal detachment (when the retina lining the back of the eye pulls away from the blood vessels that supply it)
Reasons to see an eye doctor
How often should you have an eye exam? What are the symptoms that indicate you may have an eye problem that needs to be checked by an eye doctor? The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends:
Since children’s eyes grow and change rapidly, they should have an eye exam. If deemed necessary, they may be referred to an ophthalmologist for a comprehensive eye examination.
Adults who have healthy eyes and excellent vision should have four comprehensive eye exams: one at age 20, two at age 30, and one at age 40. These examinations can allow the eye doctor to catch eye disease or vision changes early. By the time you notice symptoms, you may already have some vision loss. Early treatment of eye problems can protect your vision.
People who are at higher risk of eye disease may need eye exams more often. This may include people with diabetes, high blood pressure or a family history of eye problems. After age 65, your eyes should be checked every one to two years. Regardless of age, people who wear contacts should have a complete eye exam every year.
Calling about eye problems
Contact your ophthalmologist immediately if you have any of the following conditions:
- Eye injury or infection
- Eye pain
- An increase in floaters and flashes of light
- A change in vision, such as blurred vision or double vision
- Sudden loss of vision, even if your vision returns seconds later
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