Selection of the right eye care provider is a crucial health care decision because you will be counting on them to secure your valuable eyesight for a lifetime.
The first thing you know while making this decision is to understand that there are different kinds of eye care specialists you might visit during your treatment process.
There is a big difference in terms of expertise and assistance in each type of eye care provider.
Let’s read about what these eye doctors are called and how they are different in terms of education and the services they offer.
What Is An Eye Specialist?
An eye specialist is a person who has expertise in the examination and treatment of your eyes. Since the eye problems differ, the eye doctors are different. There are three kinds of eye specialists depending on the type of eye problem.
Now let us discuss all these types of eye doctors in detail and know the difference between them.
What Are Eye Doctors Called As?
An optometrist is an eye doctor who conducts an eye exam to interpret the changes in your vision. Such a person provides primary vision care to any patient that visits him. Their duties go from eyesight testing and correction to analyzing, doctoring, and managing vision differences.
To be called an eye doctor or optometrist, you need complete 4- year training in any optometry school. After finishing off post-graduation, you will become a doctorate in optometry.
What Services Does An Optometrist Provide?
- Conduct eye exams and vision tests
- Prescribe and dispense corrective lenses to patients
- Detect the presence of specific eye abnormalities
- Prescribe medicine for particular eye situations
- Execute specialized surgical treatments when needed
- Provide visual rehabilitation
In some states like the US, optometrists can prescribe schedule II drugs, including opioids such as hydrocodone, hydromorphone, and oxycodone. These medicines are quite helpful in reducing eye pain, irritation, and redness.
In addition, as per state legislation, optometrists can perform minor eye surgeries in consultation with an ophthalmologist. That includes laser eye(LASIK) and cornea foreign body removal.
An eye doctor who specializes in surgical eye procedures is called an ophthalmologist. To be called an eye doctor or ophthalmologist, you must complete at least eight years of training at medical school. Once you become an eye doctor, you get a license to practice medicine and surgery.
What Services Does An Ophthalmologist Provide?
An ophthalmologist offers the same medical assistance as an optometrist, including defining and fitting spectacles and contact lenses to fix vision difficulties. However, ophthalmologists can also:
- Identify and treat all eye disorders
- Conduct eye surgeries
- Conduct research to the know reasons and treatments for rare eye disorders and vision difficulties
- Provide training for other eye disease subspecialties
Sometimes, an ophthalmologist can also observe health issues that are indirectly related to the eyes but become visible in a routine eye test. If this happens, the ophthalmologist will suggest the individual visit the family doctor.
Although ophthalmologists are well-trained medical doctors, some may select a subspecialty. Picking a subspeciality includes pursuing education and practice in a particular area of eye care.
Some subspecialties of ophthalmology comprise:
- Cornea Specialist
It is a professional who examines and treats corneal eye conditions such as Keratoconus and Fuchs’ dystrophy.
- Retina Specialist
It is an eye specialist who diagnoses and treats retinal eye conditions.
- Glaucoma Specialist
Such an eye specialist treats the eye condition glaucoma. Under this, excess fluid builds up within the eye and causes damage to the optic nerve.
- Neurology Specialist
This specialist deals with vision problems linked to how the eye communicates with nerves, muscles, and the brain. He can also diagnose and treat problems such as double vision, vision loss, irregular eye movements, and unequal pupil size.
- Pediatric Specialist
This subspeciality treats newborns and children with eye disorders. Some eye issues that a pediatric specialist may treat include eye misalignment, uncorrected refractive errors, and vision conflicts between both eyes.
An optician is a person who works in a vision care center or optometrist office.
Optician practice is not as formal as optometry or ophthalmology. To become an optician, you need to get a certificate under 1 to 2-year associate programs in ophthalmic dispensing.
You can become an optician when you have a certification as an in-house apprenticeship under an ophthalmologist or optometrist.
What Services Does An Optician Provide?
Opticians provide the following services:
- Receive and fill eye prescriptions
- Measure, fit, and adjust eyeglasses and frames
- Help customers choose eyeglass frames, contact lenses, and other vision accessories
How To Choose An Eye Doctor?
The correct selection of an eye doctor depends on your requirements. You can consult your family doctor, friends, or family to suggest an eye doctor.
However, a rule of thumb would be for a primary eye care treatment, start with an Optometrist. From there, if needed, refer to a well-trained Ophthalmologist.
If in eye tests, the doctor observed anything serious such as glaucoma or cataracts, he may recommend eye surgery to correct the eye disorder. And for this thing, an ophthalmologist with a related specialty would be the right place to begin.
When To Visit An Eye Doctor?
Here are some signs that need you to book an appointment with your eye doctor:
- Harmful Toxins Get In
You can seek medical attention if you get sand, dirt, or chemicals in your eyes. Instead, try washing it away by rinsing your eyes with cool water. But do not remove it using your fingers or tweezers. If you still feel something stuck in your eye after days, call your eye doctor to book an appointment.
- Eye Pain
Occasional and mild eye pain is generally no reason to fear. But if you feel intense nonstop pain in your eyes, it may be an indication of a severe health problem.
- Eye Fatigue
Everyone from us spends plenty of time staring at screens, which causes eye fatigue. In addition, seasonal allergies can prompt our eyes to look tired. But they may also signify a serious problem.
- Eye Infections
You may have an eye infection if you observe that your eyelids are red, bulgy, and itchy. The white part of your eyes also looks discolored pink in case of eye infections. If you suspect any of this, book an eye test right away.
- Light Sensitivity Or Focusing Problems
Light sensitivity or focusing problems may signify a serious problem and is one of the symptoms of severe eye disorders and infections.
- Double Vision
Double vision may occur due to astigmatism, dry eye, or keratoconus. Both of your eyes can get affected by it. So it is necessary to visit an eye consultant for an eye test asap.
If you start to see halos around lights, especially during the day, it may suggest that you have presbyopia or astigmatism. However, to be more sure, book an appointment with an ophthalmologist.
- Night Blindness
It is a situation where you struggle to see things in low lighting. It is a usual aspect of the aging process. Still, difficulties with nighttime vision may suggest that you begin to acquire cataracts that require only surgery as a treatment procedure. However, your eye specialist can recommend steps to restrict the advancement of cataracts.
- Frequent Headaches
Frequent headaches are one of the symptoms of vision difficulties. However, they may imply that your visual ability has changed, and you may need new spectacles. Schedule a meeting with your eye professional to examine the reason for the ache and revise your prescription if required.
Diabetes can cause damage to our eyes as well. If not managed properly, it can cause diabetic retinopathy. Regular eye exams are a solution to such severe damage. Otherwise, they can cause permanent vision loss.
Now you know what an eye doctor is called. It can be an optometrist, ophthalmologist, or optician or something else.
We all rely on our vision in many ways than we may know. In the scarcity of healthy eyesight, our capacity to work, drive or play can get drastically reduced. Several other factors can influence our vision, including health problems such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
Even having a family member with an eye disorder can make you more likely to have that situation. Thus, it is essential to visit an eye specialist from time to time for detailed eye checkups.
We hope you have understood clearly what an eye doctor or specialist is called. If you still have doubts, write to us in the comment section.
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