9 September 2019
9 September 2019
The difference between an optometrist and an ophthalmologist
When the time comes to take care of your eyes, several health professionals can help you. However, what distinguishes the different specialties can sometimes seem difficult to understand. Here are the main differences between an optometrist and an ophthalmologist.
The optometrist: Eye exam expert
The optometrist is the first vision professional you should consult. They are on the front line. Holder of a doctorate in optometry, they perform eye exams, to detect diseases of the eye and prescribe glasses suited to the specific needs of their patients. Optometrists can prescribe some medications to treat certain eye health problems such as dry eye. In the more complex cases, they will refer you to an ophthalmologist.
The opthalmologist: Eye disease specialist
Severe cases of eye diseases are treated by the ophthalmologist. Be it the management of glaucoma or macular degeneration, ophthalmologists are responsible for prescribing the right medicine as well as for patient management. They can also perform surgery. Among other things, they can perform surgery of eyelids and operate for cataracts. Depending on the severity of the ocular disease, follow-ups with the ophthalmologist can vary in frequency and, in some cases, such as cataract surgery, the patient will not need long-term follow-up.
How often should you have your eyes examined?
Below is the frequency of preventive optometry consultations, according to age:
At what age should you have your first appointment with an optometrist?
Vision is essential to the proper development of the child, because eyes are a great source of learning. It is strongly advisable to make an appointment with an optometrist from the age of three. Then, depending on the care needed and the problems identified during the appointments, eye exams can be once a year or every two years.
How often should you see an ophthalmologist?
You will be referred to an ophthalmologist only when an eye disease has already been diagnosed by an optometrist.
In conclusion, remember the optometrist is always who you should see first, because this is the professional who can detect eye diseases and direct you to an ophthalmologist if necessary. In order to maintain good eye health, be sure to respect the frequency of preventive consultations according to your age.
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