When we have an eye problem, it can bring our entire life to a halt. We need our eyes to do nearly everything in our day-to-day lives. Beyond this, pain or strain in and around the head seems to be the hardest to ignore. You can put a stinging toe out of your mind because it’s far away from your head, but a stinging eye? That’s a lot harder to distract yourself from.
It can be daunting to try and figure out what needs to be done, especially considering how many different types of eye doctors there are. The following will break down the differences between three of the main types of eye specialists. Of course, if your eye problem was caused by an injury coupled with dizziness, excessive bleeding, or other severe symptoms, you can go to the emergency room as well. It might also be worth noting that these different types of doctors can sometimes work in tandem on complex eye issues.
What Is An Ophthalmologist?
An ophthalmologist handles medical and surgical eye care. Someone in this position went to medical school, participated in a year-long internship as well as a residency of three years. They sometimes also then experience a one or two-year fellowship. The services they offer include:
- Plastic surgery having to do with droopy eyelids or wrinkles near the eyes
- Medical eye care including treatment for conditions like glaucoma, chemical burns, and iritis
- Surgical eye care such as trauma, cataracts, glaucoma, crossed eyes, and other issues,
- Vision services, including eye exams
- The diagnosis and treatment of eye conditions that connect to other diseases such as arthritis or diabetes
What Is An Optometrist?
Optometrists handle the main health care associated with the eyes. After attending college, they studied in a four-year professional program resulting in a doctor of optometry degree. They can also get additional clinical training or attend a specialty fellowship after school care. Optometrists like Optique Optometrists are likely the most commonly visited type of eye care professional. Their services tend to focus on regular vision care including:
- Eye examinations and vision tests
- Low-vision aid provision
- Vision therapy
- Prescription and fitting of eyeglasses or contact lenses
- Monitoring medically-related eye conditions like diabetes
- Managing and treating conditions like dry eye and glaucoma
If you aren’t sure whether your eyes need any attention as you have no symptoms or issues, an optometrist is likely the person you need to visit. Routine eye checkups and vision tests tend to be done at an optometrist’s office. It’s just as important to get children’s eyes checked as it is to check adults’ eyes. Sometimes it is even more imperative as kids don’t have many years of previous eyesight to compare their vision to—they might not know anything is wrong. Pay attention to whether or not a child often squints to see images far away from them like the television or something outside the window while they’re in the car.
What Is An Optician?
An optician is an important part of many people’s eye care routines. However, they aren’t doctors and so can’t provide eye exams. This position requires a one or two-year degree, certificate, or diploma and allows a person to fill prescriptions given by optometrists or ophthalmologists. Opticians can also help with:
- Checking lens prescriptions
- The ordering and checking of products like contacts and eyeglass lenses
- Taking facial measurements
- Providing glasses and contact lenses
- Adjusting or repairing glasses and frames
- Help shoppers decide which lenses and frames they want
You Might Also Be In Need Of An Allergy Specialist
Sometimes eye problems involving itchy, watery, swollen, red, pink, scaly, puffy, or gunky eyes are actually the result of allergies. Seasonal allergies to things like tree pollen, molds, grass, or weeds can be the culprit, as can pet allergies from a cat or dog dander or certain food allergies. In these situations, eye drops might be able to offer some relief, but long term, you might want to have your allergies tested by a doctor who specializes in that. Sometimes shots, antihistamines, or other treatment options are available that can help ease these symptoms and others tremendously. You might be able to be far more comfortable than you ever knew.
The above information hopefully provided you with enough detail to determine which type of healthcare professional you need to visit to deal with your eye problems. Again, if you are in serious condition, go straight to the hospital. You can be referred to an eye specialist after initial damages are taken care of.