When you go to get your eyes checked there are a variety of eye care providers you might see, but it is important to understand the differences between them. Opthalmologists, optometrist and opticians all play an important role in eye care services. Eye care is an often overlooked, but it remains an important aspect of our personal health and wellness. Selecting a good opthalmologist requires just as much care as you have taken in selecting your general health physician or dentist. When selecting an eye doctor, it is useful to find a specialist who can take care of the overall health of your eyes—not just your vision problems.

Ophthalmologists are specially trained to provide the full spectrum of eye care, from prescribing glasses and contact lenses to complex and delicate eye surgery. Many opthalmologists are also involved in scientific research into the causes and cures for eye diseases and vision problems. There are many reasons why you might want to have your eyes examined by an opthalmologist, but in particular, if you think that you might have signs or risk factors for an eye disease. Some of the indicators that you should see an opthalmologist include decreased vision, distorted vision, new floaters, a curtain or veil blocking vision, haloes, eye injury or pain, red eye, bulging of one or both eyes, misaligned eyes, high blood pressure, diabetes or a family history of eye disease. In addition, as you age it is important to begin looking for a qualified opthamologist as they are qualified to diagnose, treat and care for common diseases of the eyes and vision.

It is important to understand the difference between an optometrist and an opthamologist. Optometrists are not medical doctors, but they are trained to detect various diseases and malformations of the eye. However, they are not trained to perform eye surgery to correct these diseases, and should be referring clients with complicated diseases to an ophthalmologist.
It is generally understood that adults with no signs or risk factors for eye disease will not require an eye disease screening until age 40. Once you have the results of the initial screening, your ophthalmologist will tell you how often to return for follow-up exams.
Adults of 65 years or older should have an eye disease exam every one to two years depending on the recommendation of your opthamologist. As you age it is good for your eye health to ensure you have both a good optometrist and a good opthamologist to ensure all of your health needs are met.

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