What is ophthalmology and what is the role of an ophthalmologist..?
A specialist in ophthalmology who performs these procedures is known as an ophthalmologist and is somebody who is highly medically trained and qualified to carry out surgical procedures and eye operations. They are a fully qualified Eye M.D. which means that they are a medical doctor who specialises just in eye and vision care and they can cover the full spectrum of visual patient requirements from prescribing what glasses you need right the way through to performing complex and delicate eye operations.
Ophthalmology comes from the Greek words ophthalmos which means eyes and logos which means thought, word or discourse. Ophthalmology is the arm of medical science that deals specifically with the study and treatment of eye diseases as well as eye anatomy and physiology. It usually involves surgical procedures including ones to remove cataracts, correct other visual impairments such as glaucoma and to remove abnormal growths from the eyes.
An Optometrist is a Doctor of optometry and is a health care professional who is licensed to provide primary eye and vision care only. An optometrist can prescribe you new glasses and can carry out eye tests and screens to diagnose whether you may have an eye disease like cataracts, glaucoma or age-related macular degeneration and then prescribe the appropriate treatments. They can also perform minor surgical procedures such as removing a foreign body from one’s eye, but only an ophthalmologist is qualified to carry out complex surgical procedures such as cataracts surgery and other more complex surgical eye procedures.
An orthopist is an eye specialist who usually works alongside an ophthalmologist to diagnose, evaluate and treat eye disorders that relate to movement or alignment of the eyes. Orthopists often work with people to help them to overcome such ocular eye conditions as; cross eyes, double vision and amblyopia which is more commonly known as lazy eye syndrome. Orthopists can work with people of any age but their work is usually predominantly with children of school age. The orthopist will work alongside the ophthalmologist to develop specific treatment plans for each patient using any combination of the following forms of treatment; different eye exercises, eye drops, eye patches or special glasses to help correct their visual defects.
An optician works in conjunction with an ophthalmologist or an optometrist to fullfill their prescriptions for glasses or contact lenses to help correct their patients vision. The main role of the optician is to supply corrective eye wear such as glasses, contact lenses, low vision aids, artificial eyes and ocular prostheses.
It is highly recommended that everybody should undergo regular eye examinations for the early diagnosis of any eye problems as the sooner they are diagnosed the sooner the correct treatment can be started. An eye examination is a series of eye tests which are carried out by a ophthalmologist, optometrist or orthopist to access your vision and detect any visual impairments that you might be suffering. These tests include ones to access your vision and your eye’s ability to focus on and discern certain objects as well as ones to test your periphery field of vision and your intraocular eye pressure. Having regular eye examinations may detect eye diseases that can be treated which, if left unnoticed, could later lead to serious visual impairment or even blindness. It is also possible that they could show up ocular manifestations of other systemic diseases within the body or even signs of brain tumours or other brain anomalies so that they can also be treated as early on as possible too.
After undergoing a thorough eye examination you will be diagnosed and the appropriate treatment for your particular condition will then be recommended to you. This may involve a course of treatment with eye drops or other drugs that you can administer yourself at home or you may be referred to an ophthalmologist if a surgical procedure or operation is required to treat your particular condition.
Besides treating people and performing eye surgery many ophthalmologists are also involved in the field of research and development looking into the causes and possible new treatments for eye diseases and visual impairments such as NAC Eye Drops for cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration.
Ophthalmology also applies to animals as well; the differences between humans and animals is mainly just their anatomical makeup as opposed to any actual differences in the processes of the various different eye diseases and conditions. So, in many cases, the treatments and procedures for humans are almost identical to the treatments for animals. But, as veterinary medicine is often regulated in a different way to human medicine, very few ophthalmologists will treat both humans and animals. So for animal eye conditions it is usually necessary to consult a veterinary ophthalmologist.