Eye Health And Ophthalmology

Concerns about vision because of injury, disease or an abnormal structure of the eye are very serious for all patients. Ophthalmology, or the study of the physiology, structure, and the health issues of the eyes, is an important specialization to ensure specific eye care and retention of sight.

There are actually two different types of specialized eye professionals. These are an ophthalmologist, who is also a medical doctor, and an optometrist, who is not a medical doctor. As a medical doctor, the specialist in ophthalmology can prescribe medications as well as complete surgical procedures on the eyes.

Typically most patients will be referred to an ophthalmologist when there are health issues related to the eyes. These professionals are often very much a part of the treatment team when disease or medical issues are at risk for causing problems with the eyes or with vision.

Reasons to See an Ophthalmologist

There are many different reasons a family doctor or a specialist may require a visit to an ophthalmologist. For most patients conditions such as a macular degeneration and cataracts, which tend to be more common as people age, are common reasons to take advantage of ophthalmology.

Other conditions that benefit from this specialized treatment include blindness, glaucoma, problems with the cornea or retina, strabismus (eye alignment problems) or even for cancers of the eye.

There is a subspecialization that also deals with the very complicated connection or interaction between the nervous system and the eyes. This is called neuro-ophthalmology, and it typically becomes important in providing overall treatment plans for patients with lesions or tumors that may impact the nerves and pathways between the brain and the eyes.

Specialized Procedures

There are ophthalmologists specializing in all types of conditions and disease of the eye. This can include pediatric ophthalmology that is often used to correct vision problems in newborns and infants, or to monitor eye abnormalities until it is possible to complete a procedure or to prescribe treatment.

Surgical procedures to improve vision by altering the eye itself are also a part of this specialization. This can include new types of laser surgeries on the eyes as well as reconstructive work when there is damage due to trauma or disease.

The ophthalmologist can also complete vision screening and testing, as well as prescribe glasses or contacts. As with all doctors and practices, the least invasive methods of ophthalmology are attempted first as a way to address vision retention and eye health.