There’s a popular phrase that says, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

But how can you see one’s beauty when your vision is compromised?

If you are someone who experiences symptoms of cataracts, eye infections, optic nerve problems, or other eye conditions, then it’s best to rely on ophthalmology.

You may be asking yourself: how can ophthalmology provide the health care I need?

Let’s break it down for you.

What is Ophthalmology?

Ophthalmology is a medicine branch that deals with preventing, diagnosing, and treating eye diseases and other disorders. It includes microsurgery and diagnosis to address various medical conditions affecting the eye, its surrounding structures, and the visual system.

Ophthalmology covers all aspects of vision function, in both health and disease, including refraction, orthoptics, and binocular vision. It also provides medical and surgical treatment for diseases that affect the eye, structures around it, and the visual pathways. Additionally, ophthalmology is a comprehensive eye care practice, which includes diagnosis, treatment, prevention, refractive, optical services, and medical, surgical, and rehabilitation services.

Who Practices Ophthalmology?

Ophthalmologists are experienced doctors who can diagnose and treat eye and vision problems. They are at the forefront of medical and surgical advances and have created some of the best medical and surgical treatments.  However, there are other kinds of professions that specialize in the eye, and people often get confused. Other than an ophthalmologist, there are eye specialists that we call opticians and optometrists. What are their differences?

Optician

Opticians are trained technicians who can design, fit, verify, and adjust eyeglass lenses, frames, contact lenses, or other devices to correct eyesight. They use prescriptions from optometrists or ophthalmologists, but they don’t test vision or write optical correction prescriptions. Moreover, they cannot diagnose or treat eye conditions.

Optometrist

Optometry is the practice of eye care. It includes performing vision tests and eye exams, prescribing and dispensing corrective lenses, diagnosing certain eye conditions, and prescribing medication for them.

Optometrists provide primary vision care. They can perform everything from sight testing and correction to diagnosis, treatment, and management of vision problems. However, they are not medical doctors.

Ophthalmologist

An ophthalmologist specializes in eye and vision care—they are different in terms of training and the types of cases they can treat. An ophthalmologist has completed medical school and had at least eight years of additional training in medicine. Furthermore, an ophthalmologist is licensed to practice medicine or surgery and even diagnose and treat all eye diseases.

They can also prescribe and fit contact lenses and eyeglasses to correct vision problems and be involved in scientific research related to the causes and treatments of vision disorders and eye diseases.

How Do Ophthalmologists Qualify to Treat You?

To be an ophthalmologist, you must attend school and undergo several years of specialty training. Here’s the ideal timeline to be an ophthalmologist.

  • Bachelor’s degree (4 years)
  • Medical school (4 years)
  • Internship (1 year)
  • Residency in ophthalmology (3 years)

Many ophthalmologists finish their fellowship after completing their residency that can take up to two years. It allows them to focus on a specific field like pediatrics (treating children), surgery to remove a cloudy eyelid, or treatment for glaucoma (diseases that cause damage to the optic nerve).

What Conditions Do Ophthalmologists Treat?

Ophthalmologists can help diagnose, prevent, and treat almost all eye conditions and visual issues.

However, there are subspecialist ophthalmologists who focus on treating and monitoring certain conditions, such as:

  • glaucoma
  • retinal conditions (ex.: macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy)
  • corneal conditions
  • cataracts
  • cases related to children or childhood eye conditions
  • cases related to neurological cause or component (ex.: optic nerve problems, abnormal eye movements, double vision, and other kinds of vision loss)
  • cases related to complex surgical procedures (ex.: reconstructive surgery or advanced vision repair)

Ophthalmologists are trained to look after the eyes and see the retina. However, they can also spot symptoms that are not directly related to the eye. They can refer patients to the right treatment in such cases.

Many ophthalmologists are also involved in scientific research that focuses on eye and vision conditions and possible cures.

When Should You Consult an Ophthalmologist?

Regular eye exams can prevent many problems that may develop over time. It is recommended that everyone see an ophthalmologist before 40 and continue to see them as often as they recommend.

These are some of the most commonly detected signs that people experience when it’s time to consult an ophthalmologist in Manila:

  • Distorted or double vision
  • Normal vision loss
  • Hereditary eye problems
  • Bulging or misaligned eyes
  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid problems
  • Dark vision blockers (strings in vision)
  • Flashes of light
  • Extreme tearing
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Red eyes or pain in the eyes
  • High blood pressure
  • Physical injury
  • Eyelid problems

You should consult your eye doctor if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. Your ophthalmologist in Quezon City can help you create a treatment plan that is fit for your needs.

How Often Should You Consult Your Ophthalmologist?

You must have your eyes examined regularly throughout your lifetime and give your family history of any eye diseases.

A six-month-old infant’s first eye exam can detect any vision problems. It will help to identify developmental delays, setbacks in education, or behavioral problems.

If you are an adult who doesn’t feel or notice any issues with your eyes, then it is recommended that you see an ophthalmologist according to this schedule:

  • 19 to 40 years old: at least every ten years
  • 55 to 41 years old: at least every five years
  • 56 to 65 years old: at least every three years
  • 65 years old and above: at least every two years

You may have vision loss before you even notice the symptoms. Taking regular checkups may help the ophthalmologist catch a vision problem or eye disease early to protect your vision.

The Takeaway

Ophthalmology is an area of medicine that mainly deals with preventing, diagnosing, and treating eye diseases.

Ophthalmologists are medical doctors who you can trust to treat your conditions related to the eyes and vision. They can perform many different medical and vision procedures, as well as minor office procedures and surgeries.

Visit your nearest ophthalmologist now and see more of the world’s beauty with healthier eyes.

References

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326753

https://reverehealth.com/live-better/what-is-ophthalmology/

https://aapos.org/glossary/difference-between-an-ophthalmologist-optometrist-and-optician

https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/what-is-ophthalmologist

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326753#summary

https://www.aao.org/about/policies/role-ophthalmology-ophthalmologist