A medical physician who specializes in eye and vision care is called an Ophthalmologist. They are specially trained physicians who provide the full spectrum of eye care, from prescribing glasses and contact lenses, to complex and delicate eye surgery. An ophthalmologist may decide to spend an additional one to two years of training in a subspecialty, which is a specific area of eye care. Some of these subspecialties are:
Cornea and External Disease: Diagnosis and management of diseases of the cornea, sclera, conjunctiva and eyelids. This may also include corneal transplant surgery and corneal surgery to correct refractive problems.
Glaucoma: Treatment of glaucoma and other disorders that may cause optic nerve damage.
Vitreoretinal Diseases: Medical and surgical treatment of retinal and vitreoretinal diseases.
When should you see an ophthalmologist? Preventative eye care is very important to everyone, from the very young to the seasoned adult. Below is a suggested guideline from the American Academy of Ophthalmology for examinations:
Some factors can put you at increased risk for eye disease. If any of these factors apply, please check with your Ophthalmologist to see how often you should have an eye examination.
Do you feel like you are looking through a frosted window? Are you changing your eyeglass prescription frequently? Does the pupil of your eye appear yellowish or white? You may have a cataract. A cataract clouds the eye’s lens and prevents the light from reaching the retina to produce a clear image.
There are four types of cataracts:
Age-Related: caused by the normal aging process. These are the most common type of cataract.
Congenital: develop in children due to fetal or maternal diseases or may be hereditary.
Traumatic: resulting from eye injuries, like a puncture, cut, severe blow, exposure to toxic agents or intense heat.
Secondary: caused by diseases or infections of the eye.
The only effective way to remove a cataract is by surgery, which is usually recommended if the condition interferes with your occupation and lifestyle. Surgery usually takes less than 30 minutes and is done as an outpatient procedure, unless there are complications. After surgery, most people return to normal activities within a few days.
Eye Injury Prevention
Wear protective eyewear to prevent damage or injury to your eyes. Appropriate protective eyewear with “ANSI Z87.1” is desirable. Use eyewear in the following areas:
Prevention is the first and most important step in protecting your eyes from injuries. If you do experience an eye injury, seek medical attention promptly.