Some people wonder how an optometrist is different from an ophthalmologist from time to time. And this confusion may very well arise if you have never visited an optometrist. Not a very wise decision if you haven’t, for you need to have your eyes examined regularly.
Let us begin at the very beginning. Who is an optometrist? Optometrists, also called doctors of optometry, treat eye ailments such as vision problems, eye diseases and related conditions and prescribe eyeglasses, eye lenses and medications as per requirements. You must note, however, that they cannot perform surgery but they are qualified to provide pre and post-surgical care. Sometimes optometrists and ophthalmologists often work in tandem and monitor the same patients.
Unfortunately, it is a reality that people most of the times do not think the need to visit an optometrist. But when those billboards appear hazy, the streetlights blurred or if you cannot read the words on a page or if you bang your head against a light post or a wall because you did not see it, it is time for you to make that much needed visit to the optometrist.
So, what can you expect when you finally decide to visit an optometrist’s office? As soon you enter, you are asked to sit on a chair and the doctor begins to examine you and prepares lenses suited for your eyes. These lenses are prescribed by him only after you go through a vision check test to check the sharpness of your vision. This routine test is conducted to verify whether you are near or far sighted. After this is done the optometrist will determine the correct power for your eyeglasses and if you need them at all.
You might ask what are the aspects tested in this procedure. Actually as you will see a number of things, many involving various dimensions of vision, that will be examined. Your vision co-ordinates, vision depth, color viewing and recognition, and your ability to focus, among other things are checked. And that is not all!
A glaucoma check is done on you as well as other diseases that might ail the eye are closely examined. If you suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes or cancer, these might directly affect your vision. So your optometrist will make sure if these other physical ailments are becoming any further cause of worry for your eyes. But relax! Even if they are affecting your vision, he will more than likely prescribe medication and offer suggestions for eye care.
So we are back to where we had begun. How does one distinguish between the optometrist and an ophthalmologist apart from the fact that latter performs surgery and the former does not? Both treat eye diseases and prescribe eye glasses or contact lenses. The difference lies in the fact that optometrists are general practitioners and more often than not treat children and old patients. Some optometrists, though, have private practices. But their work involves more than just examining eyes. They have very important administrative functions. They run their offices and are responsible for hiring employees, billing, new patient services, keeping electronic records, and also ordering supplies and equipments – talk about being an all rounder!
Do not neglect your eyes. Open your eyes to their needs!