scenes by Gary Dill
I need an optometrist or ophthalmologist?
Both are eye doctors that diagnose and treat many
of the same eye conditions. The American Optometric
Association defines Doctors of Optometry as: primary
health care professionals who examine, diagnose, treat,
and manage diseases and disorders of the visual system,
the eye, and associated structures, as well as diagnose
related systemic conditions. They prescribe glasses,
contact lenses, low-vision rehabilitation, vision therapy
The main difference between the two is that ophthalmologists
perform surgery, where an optometrist would not,
preferring to specialize in eye examinations, as well as
eyeglass and contact lens-related services.
Optometrists would be involved in all of the pre- and
post-operative care of thee patients; collecting accurate
data, educating the patient, and insuring proper healing
after the procedures. An ophthalmologist is more of
a medical-related specialist, who would need to be
involved if some kind of surgery were being
considered. An optometrist can treat most any eye
condition, including the use of topical or oral
medications if needed. This might include the treatment
of glaucoma, eye infections, allergic eye conditions and
others, to name just a few.
A third "O" that is often overlooked is the optician.
An optician is not a doctor, and they cannot examine your eyes
under their own license. However, a highly trained
optician plays an indispensable role in the most
successful eye doctors' offices. An optician most
often handles the optical, contact lens, and glasses side
of things. Based on their vast knowledge of lenses, lens
technology and frames, they manufacture eyeglasses, as
well as assist in the selection of eyewear, based on the
requirements of each individual patient. In some
states opticians must be licensed to do their job, although
Mississippi is not one of them at the time of this
see fine. Why do I need an eye doctor?
exams are the only way to catch "silent"
diseases such as diabetes, glaucoma, and other conditions
in the early stages, when they are more easily managed or
treated. Many conditions can be discovered in a
carefully planned eye exam.
Those who consider mass-produced, over-the-counter reading
glasses are doing themselves a disservice, both
financially and medically. One-size-fits-all reading
glasses not only do not work well for most people who have
a different prescription in each eye, and/or astigmatism,
or whose lens and frame parameters are not measured
correctly. For those insisting on selecting glasses
not measured specifically for their eyes, headaches and eye
fatigue are common symptoms.
Don't bypass the opportunity to have your eyes checked for
early detection of many manageable diseases or conditions.
what age should my child have an eye exam?
child starts school or sooner if the parent feels there
may be a problem or family history.
often do I need my eyes examined?
check up is recommended by the American Optometric
everyone wear contacts?
determined by your prescription.
I need a prescription to change my eye color?
lens are a medical device and must be fitted by your