All Press Releases for January 28, 2010

Choosing the Right Eye Doctor

With so many medical specialties it is often hard to know how one eye specialty differs from another. Sorting out the different types of eye practitioners can be confusing, but each is distinctly different.

    SEATTLE, WA, January 28, 2010 /24-7PressRelease/ -- With so many medical specialties it is often hard to know how one eye specialty differs from another. Sorting out the different types of eye practitioners can be confusing, but each is distinctly different. Choosing the right eye doctor can make a difference in your outcome, even if only financially. For example it might be excessive to pay for an ophthalmologist exam when you need only prescription lenses, but when you need eye surgery, only an ophthalmologist will do.

Types of Eye Specialists

An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor (MD) or who specializes in eye surgery. An ophthalmologist's training consists of attaining a college degree, followed by medical school, internship, residency and sub-specialty fellowships. Ophthalmologists prescribe medications and administer anesthetics. Ophthalmologists diagnose and treat eye diseases, medically, pharmaceutically and surgically, including those caused by systemic disease, injury and aging.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology definition: "A medical doctor who specializes in all aspects of eye care including diagnosis, management, and surgery of ocular diseases and disorders."

An optometrist in the United States is not a medical doctor, but has completed college followed by a four-year accredited optometry program. They receive their Doctor of Optometry (OD) upon graduation. Optometrists diagnose and treat refractive conditions and prescribe corrective lenses. Optometrists treat common eye problems and can prescribe medications. They can detect, but cannot treat diseases that affect eye health such as diabetes and hypertension. They can diagnose eye diseases like glaucoma, cataracts, and retinal diseases, but can treat them only in certain states.

The World Council of Optometry definition: "Optometry is a healthcare profession that is autonomous, educated, and regulated (licensed/registered), and optometrists are the primary healthcare practitioners of the eye and visual system who provide comprehensive eye and vision care, which includes refraction and dispensing, detection of disease in the eye, and the rehabilitation of conditions of the visual system."

Orthoptists diagnose and treat specific eye movement disorders specified by the International Orthoptic Association (IOA). These include amblyopia (lazy eye) and binocular vision. The orthoptists role in assisting ophthalmologists has grown and is accepted worldwide due to the international standards developed by the IOA. Orthoptists receive between two and five years of training. In the US they are required to complete three years of college followed by two years of in post-graduate school.

The International Orthoptist Association definition: "Orthoptics is a profession allied to medicine whose primary remit is the diagnosis and non-medical management of strabismus (squint), amblyopia (lazy eye) and eye movement disorders."

An ocularist makes, and fits patients who have lost eyes, with ocular prostheses or artificial "glass" eye, which is actually made of medical grade acrylic or cryolite glass. Alternatively, if the natural orbit can be preserved, the ocularist can fit a scleral shell over the orbit (eyeball).

The optition is not a doctor. Rather he/she is the professional who makes the lenses (for glasses, contacts, etc.) that the optometrist or ophthalmologist prescribes.

Only two of the above specialists are doctors. And only ophthalmologists perform surgical procedures such as cataract surgery, LASIK and other refractive correction surgeries, glaucoma treatment or diabetic eye care.

If you believe you would benefit from either eye surgery or medical eye care, please visit the Bellevue LASIK & Cornea website to learn more about ophthalmology services available in Seattle, Bellevue, Everett, Olympia, and Tacoma, Washington.


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