If you've ever had something wrong with your eye and didn't know who to go to, you're not alone. Sorting out the variety of eye doctors can be confusing-there are optometrists, ophthalmologists, opticians, and the full spectrum of medical doctors. And once you figure out which specialty you need, you've still got to find an actual doctor.
If you're unsure of who to visit, the best place to start may be an optometrist.
The gateway to eye care
Here at the Vision Center of Edmond, we are optometrists. This means that we perform eye exams, fit patients with glasses and contacts, and manage eye disease medically by prescribing topical and oral medications.
Many optometrists also have specialties, such as vision therapy to help kids with trouble focusing or those who have eye turns. We can set a program over a course of weeks, perform exercises in-office and prescribe home exercises- much like a physical therapist would.
Other optometrists specialize in low vision, assisting patients who are legally blind and working with them on ways to improve their quality of life.
Optometrists can diagnose, treat and/or refer to an ophthalmologist for more specialized or surgical treatment. Optometrists are trained to diagnose and treat eye disease and injuries, more so than a general practitioner at an urgent care office. Many patients don’t realize that for ailments of the eye, it's often better to call an optometrist than a general practitioner. Most optometry offices can also file on your medical insurance.
At the Vision Center of Edmond, we see patients for eye disease on a regular basis and perform a great deal of disease management. With the aid of technology and specialized equipment, we are able to diagnose and treat many different eye and medical diseases.
For example, using Optomap®, a retinal imaging device, we are able to view the retina without having to dilate your eyes. The results from using this technology allow us to detect potential medical issues, such as hypertension or diabetes, both of which can cause issues with your vision.
When to see an ophthalmologist or optician
Ophthalmologists perform eye surgery like Lasik and other procedures where it's required to operate on the interior of your eye. Like any surgeon or doctor, ophthalmologists also specialize in different areas. To name a few, there are corneal specialists, glaucoma specialists, retina surgeons and oculoplastics (specializing in the orbit, eyelid, tear ducts and face) specialists. We work closely with ophthalmologists to provide our patients with the full spectrum of care.
Another professional you might hear of is the optician. Opticians are licensed to take prescriptions and fit patients with glasses. You will find opticians working in establishments that solely fit and sell glasses and lenses.
With so many options, it can be challenging to decide on the right medical professional to suit your needs. Starting with your optometrist is often the best choice. We can either diagnose and treat you in our office or refer you to the appropriate doctor to provide the best care for your situation.