Many online discount retailers who want to sell you a cheap pair of glasses will suggest that their products will fix a range of eye sight issues. However, although all aspects require training and expertise, there is a vast difference between an eye doctor who specializes in eye care and a technician who specializes in fitting glasses and contact lenses.
In Port Charlotte, Florida, an ophthalmologist (a medical doctor who has gone on from medical training to specialize in eye care), must be registered and licensed to practice both medicine and surgery. An ophthalmologist is an eye doctor who performs surgery on your eye in order to correct or assist with issues such as cataracts or to provide laser surgery to correct impaired vision. If you look at sites like quigleyeye.com you will be able to get an idea of the full range of treatments, surgeries and examinations that an eye doctor can perform.
Another specialist that people usually call first when they find they are having difficulties with their vision are optometrists – whether this is not being able to see street signs as well as they should, finding they squint trying to read the newspaper or noticing their vision is becoming blurred or dimmed. Although not a medical doctor, an optometrist undertakes a post-graduate qualification that gives them the training to diagnose and treat a range of vision issues.
The third type of eye care professional is an optician. These are the people who ensure that your eyeglasses or contact lenses fit correctly and do the job they are supposed to do. Although they do not perform eye testing or write prescriptions they are required to be licensed to work in Florida (click here for more information). An Optician is the professional you will see once you have seen an optometrist or ophthalmologist, and they will be able to guide you in interpreting the instructions you have been given.
It is not unusual for people to make an appointment to see an optometrist for a general eye checkup, or with failing vision and looking for advice on getting prescription glasses. However, what can sometimes happen is that the optometrist performs an eye test and discovers that a referral to an ophthalmologist is required.
Some of the reasons that you might be referred (or self-refer) to an ophthalmologist include:
This is when the lens of your eye starts to become cloudy, and often effects people as they age. At the present time we have not yet developed a way to reverse cataracts, but modern developments mean that an ophthalmologist is able to remove the lens completely and replace it with a functioning artificial lens.
Laser Eye Surgery
Although laser eye surgery is commonly thought of as a means of correcting eye sight problems (thereby removing the need to wear glasses again), however both surgical and therapeutic options using lasers have a much wider reach.
- Glaucoma – a disease that causes a build up of pressure in the eye which can lead to blindness and pain. Although sometimes treated with eye drops, treatment using laser surgery can be more beneficial for different cases.
- Retinal tears – there are a range of reasons why you might develop a tear in your retina, from trauma (e.g. a knock to the head while playing sport), to a hereditary condition. Whatever the cause, if seen by an ophthalmologist at first signs a retinal tear can be treated quickly, and loss of vision can be prevented.
- Diabetic Macular Edema (DME) – This can affect anyone with type 1, type 2 or gestational diabetes. It develops from diabetic retinopathy, and causes swelling near the retina – and may cause the blood vessels to leak (see this from NEI). If not treated DME is one of the primary causes for blindness in diabetes sufferers. However, an ophthalmologist is able to use a laser to seal the blood vessels to prevent leaking and reduce the pressure build up in the eye.
A regular check up with your eye doctor or optometrists will allow them to monitor any gradual changes in your eyesight and the structure of your eyes, thereby meaning they can pick up and treat any issues before they start to impair your quality of life.