An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who specializes in treating the eyes. As such, they can practice medicine and perform surgery. They can diagnose and treat all eye diseases. Some ophthalmologists are subspecialists, which means they concentrate on such narrow fields as diagnosing and treating glaucoma.
How Does an Ophthalmologist Differ from an Optician or Optometrist?
The ophthalmologist has had a lot more education and training. They’re a medical doctor, while the other two are not. An optometrist is a healthcare professional who has earned a Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree from an optometry school. They perform vision tests and eye exams. While they can diagnose some eye abnormalities and prescribe some medications, they cannot perform surgery like an ophthalmologist.
Opticians are technicians who design and make various corrective lenses. They can also check and correct the fit. They use the prescriptions made be optometrists or ophthalmologists, but they cannot order prescriptions themselves, nor can they perform vision tests or treat or diagnose eye disorders.
When Should Somebody See an Ophthalmologist?
Everybody should get regular eye exams, and both ophthalmologists and optometrists can perform eye exams. How often someone gets an eye exam depends on their age and health. Young people under 40 with no health issues may have eye exams once every few years. By 40, though, they should undergo a thorough examination. The results of that assessment will determine how often they should get their eyes checked. Adults who are 65 or older need to have eye exams once every one or two years, depending on their doctor’s orders.
People with known eye problems like glaucoma will have to visit eye doctors more often than people with healthy eyes. People with such conditions should always come see our doctors. People with conditions like diabetes that increase the chances of developing eye disorders should come to our office as well. Other conditions that can increase the risk of eye problems include AIDS, high blood pressure and some thyroid disorders.
Other Reasons to Visit Our Office
An ophthalmologist is the only eye specialist who is also a medical doctor. They are the only people who can perform surgery on someone’s eyes. People with injuries or infections affecting their eyes should come see our doctor. It is also time to visit our ophthalmologist if the patient has any of the following:
• Pain in the eye
• Double vision
• Halos (colored circles around lights)
• Distorted or decreased vision
• Bulging eyes
• Red eyes
• Loss of peripheral or side vision
• Eyelid abnormalities
• Excessive or abnormal tearing
If you have any of the above conditions, make an appointment to see our trusted doctors at Live Oak Ophthalmology right away. You deserve to have crisp, clear vision, and we offer a number of procedures that are designed to do just that, such as LASIK eye surgery, cataract surgery and cornea transplants, just to name a few. Contact us today to schedule a consultation at our office in Wilmington!