When should I see an ophthalmologist?

Everyone over the age of five should have their eye health and vision checked regardless if you feel that you require corrective lenses or not. Many major diseases of the eye do not start to affect vision until later in the disease process. Early diagnosis is critical so that treatment can start, and you can obtain more favorable results.

What do the different types of eye doctors do?

You have a choice of eye doctors when you’re looking for someone to take care of your eyes. There are optometrists, ophthalmologists, and even opticians. But when should you see an ophthalmologist over one of those other types of doctors?

Optometrist qualifications

Optometric physicians—commonly referred to as optometrists—are considered the “gatekeepers” of eye care. If you’re not sure which type of eye doctor to see, this is the place to start.

Optometrists are trained to diagnose and manage eye diseases, including:

  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Glaucoma
  • Macular degeneration

They also have the most training for determining the best prescription for eyeglasses and contact lenses.

Most optometrists are board-certified for treating eye emergencies and can prescribe eye medication. If you require any eye surgeries such as cataract, eye muscle, laser vision correction, or retinal detachment, your optometrist will refer you to the appropriate surgeon.

Ophthalmologist qualifications

Ophthalmologists are physicians that specialize in eye surgeries and major eye disease diagnosis. Those surgeries include:

  • Cataract
  • Laser vision correction
  • Eyelid lifts

Ophthalmologists that specialize even further in treating retinal disease are called retinal specialists.

Optician qualifications

Opticians have no licensure requirements in Oklahoma. They will take a prescription written by an optometrist or ophthalmologist and fit a patient with eyeglasses.

Opticians can:

  • Measure you and fit eyeglasses
  • Adjust and repair frames
  • Verify that an eyeglass prescription was made properly

Some opticians are trained to teach you how to insert and remove contact lenses, but the prescription still needs to come from an optometrist or physician.

If you have a problem with your eyes and don’t know who to see, start with an optometrist. We have a team of optometrists and can help you see the best you can and keep your eyes healthy. Contact us today.