Which Eye Specialist Do You Need to See?
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Published by TOP4 Team
Eye health is one aspect of physical health that many people overlook, hence, there's a confusion about what the different eye specialists do. To be exact, a lot of people confuse optometrists with ophthalmologists and opticians.
Know your eye health professionals.
An optometrist (eye doctor) has been trained to treat vision and health problems associated with a person's eyes. Optometrists can prescribe the appropriate eyeglasses and contact lenses to a patient, and some specialise in some forms of treatment like vision therapy. They also take care of patients before and after they undergo eye surgeries. Broadly speaking, optometrists don't perform the eye surgeries themselves.
An ophthalmologist, on the other hand, specialises in eye and vision care. Ophthalmologists perform a variety of treatments and services including eye exams, diagnosis and treatment. They can prescribe medications and perform surgery. Like optometrists, they can also prescribe the appropriate eyeglasses and contact lenses.
In order to better understand the difference between an optometrist and an ophthalmologist, think of the former as a general physician and the latter as a specialist.
And finally, an optician is a technician who fits and sells eyewear based on the prescription written by the two other professionals.
Which professional should you see?
If you have healthy eyes and you don't need to undergo a specialised treatment, you can see either an optometrist or an ophthalmologist. Both professionals can perform eye exams and can detect and treat eye problems.
An optometrist usually treats common and less severe eye problems and some chronic eye diseases. For medical eye problems, it's advisable to see an ophthalmologist. These include eye problems like cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration.
It should be noted that in some cases, both optometrists and ophthalmologists work together in treating a patient's condition. In such cases, the optometrist refers the patient to an ophthalmologist for treatment. After undergoing the treatment, the patient will be monitored and cared for by the optometrist, following recommendations by the ophthalmologist.
If you're currently seeing an optometrist, he/she can recommend an ophthalmologist for you to see.
On the other hand, if you haven't seen an optometrist or ophthalmologist before, the best place to start is to get recommendations from your relatives, friends or even your co-workers. The experience of these people can help you in deciding whether a particular eye specialist is competent and can treat patients with utmost professionalism and care.
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