Types of Eye Professionals
Perhaps one of the most confusing topics when it comes to the realm of eye care and the professionals who tend to these delicate and vital organs is the difference between eye doctor titles. Generally, there are three types of eye-centric professionals, which include:
Optometrist (O.D.) – These professionals are trained and licensed to practice optometry, but not medicine. They examine your eyes with the goal of prescribing corrective lenses, detecting eye abnormalities and prescribing medications to treat specific eye diseases.
Ophthalmologists (M.D.) – These medical professionals are doctors who undergo extensive training to not only perform the duties of an optometrist, but also practice medicine and execute surgeries. If you have an eye disease and require surgery, you'll be referred to an ophthalmologist, not an optometrist.
Optician – These professionals are responsible for the creation of corrective lenses, such as eyeglasses and contact lenses, based upon the prescription given by an optometrist or ophthalmologist.
An Optometrist Visit - What to Expect
While the exact experience at an optometrist's office will vary based upon your reason for visiting, there are four universal procedures conducted at most eye doctor visits:
Obtaining Patient History – Much like any other doctor, an optometrist must learn about your general health and family history of eye diseases. Be prepared to answer questionnaires and disclose any and all health ailments.
Vision Testing – Your doctor will utilize a variety of tools and methods to determine your current vision. You'll likely be asked to read charts from a variety of distances as well as undergo various tests to determine the overall value and quality of your vision. If you've raised specific concerns, the optometrist will likely execute specific tests to evaluate these concerns.
Tonometry – This is the means of testing and evaluating eye pressure by utilizing a unique machine known as a tonometer. Potentially an unpleasant experience, this test puffs a stream of air into your eye.
Full Eye Exam – Lastly, the optometrist will conduct a thorough eye exam to determine the health and functionality of your eyes. It's possible your eyes may be dilated through the assistance of specialized drops, which make your world temporarily blurry and sensitive to light. If your eyes are dilated, be prepared to have a friend or family member drive you home.
While advancements in eye care and vision restoration are ever-evolving, none of these innovations would be possible without the tireless work performed by optometrists. These medical professionals are highly trained to understand the various functions, diseases and conditions of the eye. Whether you need reading glasses or treatment for a degenerative eye disease, you'll likely find yourself resting your chin on one of the many advanced tools used by these doctors, such as the ever-entertaining lamp biomicroscope.
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