An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor (M.D. or osteopath) uniquely trained to diagnose and treat all disorders of the eye.
How is an ophthalmologist trained?
An ophthalmologist has typically completed the following:
To become certified, doctors must complete a minimum of eight years of education and training after college, including medical school and ophthalmology residency at an accredited residence program, and must pass a difficult, two-part written and oral examination given by the American Board of Ophthalmology. This exam tests not only knowledge but also the ability to provide expert care to patients.
What is a subspecialist?
For most eye diseases, a general ophthalmologist provides comprehensive care. While all
ophthalmologists specialize in the treatment of eye problems, some concentrate on a more
specific area of medical or surgical eye care.
When should I see an ophthalmologist?
An ophthalmologist is trained in all aspects of eye care - medical, surgical and optical. A comprehensive ophthalmologist can provide all your eye care needs. Recommended intervals for eye examinations are as follows:
You should have your eyes examined by an ophthalmologist if you have any of these problems:
You should also see your ophthalmologist if you are referred by your family doctor, pediatrician or internist.
What happens during an eye examination?
Your ophthalmologist and assistants will review your current symptoms as well as your past eye and medical history. Eye drops may be used.
The examination evaluates:
Your ophthalmologist can determine whether your eyes are healthy, and can also detect diseases in other parts of your body that may affect your eyes.
What treatments are available for my eyes?
Your ophthalmologist will discuss the results of your eye examination with you. If your eyes are healthy, you may only need eyeglasses or contact lenses to correct your vision.
Some eye diseases are treated with medication, such as eye drops or pills. Other diseases may require laser surgery or other operations.
Your ophthalmologist can provide you with the treatment you need, or in some cases, may
refer you to a sub specialist.
Loss of sight may be prevented! Regular visits to your ophthalmologist should be as important as examinations by your family physician because some eye diseases do not cause symptoms for months or years.
In many cases, early treatment of glaucoma, diabetic eye disease, crossed eyes and some forms of macular degeneration can prevent loss of sight and even blindness.
Your ophthalmologist's goal is to protect your sight through early diagnosis and treatment of eye conditions.