Ophthalmology is a branch of medicine and surgery which deals with the diagnosis and treatment of eye disorders. An ophthalmologist is a specialist in ophthalmology. The credentials include a degree in medicine, followed by additional four to five years of ophthalmology residency training. Ophthalmology residency training programs may require a one year pre-residency training in internal medicine, pediatrics, or general surgery. Additional specialty training (or fellowship) may be sought in a particular aspect of eye pathology. Ophthalmologists are allowed to use medications to treat eye diseases, implement laser therapy, and perform surgery when needed. Ophthalmologists may participate in academic research on the diagnosis and treatment for eye disorders.
A partial list of the most common diseases diagnosed and treated by Ophthalmologists include:
- Macular degeneration
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Dry eyes
- Strabismus (misalignment/deviation of eyes)
- Proptosis (bulged eyes)
- Excessive tearing (tear duct obstruction)
- Eye tumors
- Refractive surgery
Following are examples of methods of diagnosis performed in a eye examination
• Visual acuity
• Intraocular pressure
• Slit lamp examination
• Retina examination
• Optical coherence tomography
• Fluorescein angiography
Eye surgery, also known as ocular surgery, is surgery performed on the eye or its adnexa by an ophthalmologist. The eye is a fragile organ, and requires extreme care before, during, and after a surgical procedure. An eye surgeon is responsible for selecting the appropriate surgical procedure for the patient, and for taking the necessary safety precautions.
Ophthalmology includes subspecialities which deal either with certain diseases or diseases of certain parts of the eye. Some of them are:
• Anterior segment surgery
• Cornea, ocular surface, and external disease
• Medical retina, deals with treatment of retinal problems through non-surgical means.
• Vitreo-retinal surgery, deals with surgical management of retinal and posterior segment diseases. Medical retina and vitreo-retinal surgery sometimes together are called posterior segment subspecialisation.
• Ocular oncology
• Oculoplastics and orbit surgery
• Ophthalmic pathology
• Paediatric ophthalmology/strabismus (misalignment of the eyes)
• Refractive surgery
• Veterinary specialty training programs in veterinary ophthalmology exist in some countries
Q & A:
What does an ophthalmologist do?
An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor (MD) or a doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO) who specializes in eye and vision care. Ophthalmologists are trained to perform eye exams, diagnose and treat disease, prescribe medications and perform eye surgery. They also write prescriptions for eyeglasses and contact lenses.
What can an ophthalmologist diagnose?
Diagnosis. You're likely to see an ophthalmologist for a diagnosis, which is generally based on your medical history and an exam. The ophthalmologist likely will perform the following eye tests: A routine eye exam.
When should you see an ophthalmologist?
Have a complete eye exam at least once between the ages of 20 and 29 and at least twice between the ages of 30 and 39. You should also be aware of symptoms that could indicate a problem. See an Eye M.D.
Do I need optometrist or ophthalmologist?
An optometrist may perform an eye exam and write a prescription for corrective lenses, while an optician may fill that prescription. An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who specializes in all aspects of eye care including diagnosis, management, and surgery of ocular diseases and disorders.
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