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What Is an Ophthalmologist? | Eye Doctor in New York

What Is an Ophthalmologist?

choosing the right eye doctor

Do you have an issue with your vision? Would you like to have an eye exam?

If you answered yes to any of the above, you are looking for an eye doctor. However, there are different types of eye doctors and various specialties. There are eye doctors who only prescribe glasses, others who give comprehensive eye exams, and those who perform complicated procedures like surgeries.

Telling the difference between the type of eye doctors available can be confusing. This article will help you tell the difference and know which specific one you need.

Types of Eye Doctors

  • Opticians

These eye doctors deal solely with eyewear like eyeglasses. They will help you choose the correct eyewear and can provide information about lenses and the coatings that come with them. However, they cannot diagnose or treat eye problems, write prescriptions, or give eye exams.

  • Optometrists

These eye doctors prescribe contacts or glasses, test your vision, examine your eyes, and treat and diagnose many eye conditions. They cannot perform complicated procedures, but they have the knowledge and expertise to prescribe medication for certain eye conditions.

  • Ophthalmologists

These eye doctors can do eye exams, test your vision, and diagnose and treat all eye problems. They are the only eye doctors who can perform complex eye surgeries. Usually, they will also offer to follow up with aftercare after a surgery.

What Education Does an Ophthalmologist Need?

All ophthalmologists have completed pre-medical undergraduate education, which takes about four years. They attend medical school for four years, an internship for a year, and about three years specializing in medical and surgical eye care training.

State regulatory boards usually license ophthalmologists when they complete their education. Their license allows them to manage, diagnose, and treat all eye conditions and vision issues.

When Do I Need an Ophthalmologist?

It would be best if you went to an ophthalmologist anytime you have a severe eye problem. Often, patients visit other eye doctors who will refer them to an ophthalmologist if their condition is critical.

You must see an ophthalmologist if you have any of the following conditions.

  • Glaucoma

Glaucoma is the second leading condition that causes blindness in the world. When you have glaucoma, there is significant damage to your optic nerve. You may need to see an ophthalmologist who will examine you and prescribe a treatment plan to manage glaucoma.

  • Cataracts

Cataracts occur when the eye's lens starts becoming cloudy, obstructing vision. Your vision will become blurred, and you will not be able to carry on with your daily activities. The only treatment available for cataracts is surgery. Only an ophthalmologist can perform cataract surgery.

  • Retinal Detachment

Retinal detachment occurs when the layer of tissue at the back of the eye detaches from the supporting tissues. It is a severe condition and usually requires surgery to correct.

  • Age-related Macular Degeneration

This causes you to have problems seeing things right in front of you. It would be best to see an ophthalmologist who will prescribe a treatment for you.

  • Amblyopia

Also known as lazy eye, this condition occurs when one eye is weaker than the other. An ophthalmologist can prescribe a therapy or treatment plan to help strengthen the weaker eye.

  • Corneal Disease

It would be best to see an ophthalmologist when you have a condition affecting your cornea. They can examine the damage and decide the best way to treat it.

For more on what an ophthalmologist is, visit Maple Eye and Laser Center at our office in Manhattan or White Plains, New York. Call 914-948-5157 to book an appointment today.