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About "Ophthalmology (Eye Care)"

An ophthalmologist, commonly known as an eye doctor, is a medical practitioner specifically trained to diagnose, treat, and perform surgeries for conditions related to eyes. This differs from an optometrist and optician in that the former is a healthcare professional licensed to take eye and vision tests and provide with corrective lenses, but is not a medical doctor, whereas, an optician is trained to make the glasses based on the prescription of an ophthalmologist or optometrist, but cannot perform eye tests or treat them.

You are referred to an ophthalmologist for any eye discrepancy like a stye, chalazion, glaucoma, dry eyes, misalignment of eyes, bulged eyes, excessive tear production, eye cancer, refractive surgery, etc. The following tests will be performed by the physician such as visual acuity, slit lamp tests, intraocular pressure, refraction, ultrasonography, glaucoma tests and certain other tests based on the requirement.

The treatment provided will be based on the condition ranging from provision of corrective glasses, laser treatment to surgical procedures. With recent technological development, it has become easy to consult an eye care specialist online by sharing the images of visible conditions, taking an online vision test, or just explaining the problem to get a basic and primary knowledge of the problem and its solution.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the role of an ophthalmologist?

An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who is trained to perform medical and surgical treatment for eye and vision problems. They diagnose and treat eye conditions, perform surgeries on the eye, prescribe eye drops or ointment, eyeglasses, and contact lenses.

Are an optometrist and an ophthalmologist the same?

An optometrist primarily diagnoses and treats vision changes, and is not a medical doctor. They are trained to practice optometry, which includes performing eye examinations, vision tests, prescribing glasses and contact lenses, and treating a few eye conditions. Unlike optometrists, ophthalmologists are medical doctors and can perform surgeries and treat all the problems affecting the eyes and vision.

When to consult an ophthalmologist for vision or eye problems?

If you have the following risk factors, signs, or symptoms, it is best to consult an ophthalmologist right away:
- Blurry vision.
- Diabetes.
- Eye injury.
- Eye pain or redness.
- Cross eyes.
- Drooping upper eyelid.
- Dark spots in the vision.
- Dry and itchy eyes.
- Seeing flashes of lights.

What are the tests that an ophthalmologist does?

The tests commonly conducted by an ophthalmologist to test your vision and eye are:
- Refraction test - you have to read an eye chart that is kept 20 feet away.
- A light is used to see how your pupils respond.
- The retina is examined through a magnifying lens to check if the optic nerve and blood vessels are healthy.
- A slit lamp test is performed to check other parts of your eyes.
- Tonometry is used to measure the pressure of fluid in the eye.
- Test for colorblindness.

How to identify and get help for weak eyesight?

Signs that indicate eye or vision problems are blurry vision, difficulty seeing at night, eye strain, headaches, double vision, and seeing halos. If you notice any of these signs, consult an ophthalmologist immediately.

What is glaucoma, and what kind of an eye doctor treats it?

When the eye pressure becomes abnormally high, which can damage the optic nerve and cause blindness, it is called glaucoma. Glaucoma can be diagnosed by an ophthalmologist and an optometrist. They will prescribe eye drops and medications to lower the eye pressure. If not effective, then an ophthalmologist performs laser treatment or surgery.

What to expect during the first optometrist appointment?

If this is the first time that you are getting your eyes checked, then prepare yourself to answer a lot of questions about your eyesight. Then the optometrist will conduct various tests to determine your visual acuity, eye pressure, eye muscle weakness, peripheral vision, color vision testing, and if needed, might dilate your pupils with eye drops.

What eye conditions and diseases can an ophthalmologist detect?

The common eye problems that an eye doctor diagnoses and treats are eye strain, red eyes, uveitis, conjunctivitis, night blindness, myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), dry eyes, excessive tearing, eye floaters, cataracts, and glaucoma.

What are the early signs of eye cancer?

Eye melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, lymphoma, and retinoblastoma are common eye cancers. Signs and symptoms like flashes of light, blurred vision, partial or total loss of vision, bulging of the eye, and eye pain can be experienced during the early stages of eye cancer.
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