Should I See an Optometrist or Ophthalmologist?
Choosing the right Eye Care Provider For Your Needs
Should you choose an optometrist or an ophthalmologist for your initial eye examination? What is the difference between them? Do you need one anyway if your vision is fine? What prevents your eye doctor from overcharging you for services you do not need or leaving out important information that could be important for your eye health and overall well-being? If you don’t know the answers to any of these questions, read on! It could save you valuable time and money in the long run.
Ophthalmologists and optometrists have different levels of training and overall expertise when it comes to caring for your eyes, but it is equally important to understand that they each have an important role to play in your overall eye health.
Optometrists, have a degree in Optometry. They routinely check your overall eye health and write prescriptions if you need glasses or contact lenses. Optometrists care for your vision in the same way that medical practitioners care for their patient’s overall, general health. Your optometrist’s skill is based on an in depth knowledge of eyes and how they work. Optometrists use a variety of multifaceted techniques and instruments to assist them to understand their patient’s eye care needs. To ensure your eyes remain in the best condition they can be you should have regular, routine eye examinations with your Optometrist, as they are an important way of detecting eye problems before you have symptoms.
If needed, Optometrists refer patients needing surgery or treatment of some eye diseases and conditions to ophthalmologists.
An ophthalmologist is a qualified medical doctor who has undertaken a minimum of 12 years of tertiary study with specialist medical training in diagnosing, treating, and managing diseases, injuries, and deficiencies of the eyes. You will often hear them called eye specialists, eye surgeons or eye doctors. If you have a known or suspected medical eye issue or disease such as cataract, glaucoma, or diabetes, to name a few, you will be referred by your Optometrist to an Ophthalmologist. After you have a confirmed diagnosis of your eye condition by your treating Ophthalmologist, it is reasonable to choose them and their specialist support team for your ongoing and long term eye examinations and treatment, but this is an important discussion you must have with your specialist as each individual case is different.
It is very important to understand that your Optometrist or specialist Ophthalmologist and their associated teams must follow strict and very clear medical guidelines and protocols when they decide what to provide you with in relation to your ongoing eye care and related medical intervention. Any concerns about your ongoing eye care and treatments are best discussed directly with your practitioner because the relationship they share with you is of paramount importance for your ongoing eye care and overall health outcomes. Your treatment and the protocols being followed on your behalf are decided upon based on the information you disclose about your medical history, the diagnostic tests undertaken to monitor your condition, the risks involved in treating your condition – both long term and short term, past experience and qualifications of your chosen medical practitioner, new treatment options and practices as they arise and your joint overall treatment goals based on your presenting condition.
New technologies, an ever increasing array of drug and treatment options, improved communications, ongoing research and specialised education in relation to these options, vastly improves your Optometrist’s and Ophthalmologist’s capacity to jointly and proactively diagnose and manage your eye conditions better than ever before.
You are the focus of every decision made in relation to your eye care no matter which practitioner is providing you treatment, but it is very important for you to understand who you are seeing and why, how often this should happen and why you are having the kind of treatments you are so that you are comfortable your eyes are the best they can be for both now and into the future.
If you are interested in learning more about proactively managing your eye health or further information on provider services, don’t hesitate to call 1800 469 3937. Our friendly team are ready to assist with your inquiries.