Choose the Right Eye Care for You
If you’ve ever had to search for an eye doctor, you’ve most likely had to choose from a pool of optometrists and ophthalmologists — and been confused about which medical professional is best-suited to your optometry needs. Though they both play an important role in providing eye care, their levels of training and expertise are quite different.
Choosing an eye care provider is an important healthcare decision. After all, you will be trusting your eye doctor to safeguard your precious sight and help you maintain a lifetime of good vision. So how do you choose?
What’s an Optometrist?
An optometrist is your primary healthcare provider for routine eye care. Your optometrist will do basic and advanced testing on your eyes and prescribe correcting eyeglasses and contact lenses. Some optometrists provide low vision care and vision therapy, while others may participate in your pre- and post-operative care if you have eye surgery performed by an ophthalmologist.
What Does an Ophthalmologist Do?
An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who specialises in surgical eye procedures. They are able to prescribe medicine for all eye diseases, perform eye surgery, as well as prescribe and fit eyeglasses and contact lenses to correct vision problems.
While ophthalmologists are trained to care for all eye problems and conditions, some specialise in a specific area of medical or surgical eye care. This type of ophthalmologist is called a subspecialist.
Which One Should I Choose?
If your eyes are healthy and don’t require specialised medical or surgical treatment, we recommend visiting an optometrist for your eye care needs. They are generally more affordable and readily available than specialised eye care professionals.
If you already have a known medical eye condition, such as glaucoma, macular degeneration or cataracts, we recommend you seek care from an ophthalmologist as this may mean that medical or surgical eye care is needed. In these cases, ophthalmologists are highly trained and skilled in monitoring and treating your condition.
When making an appointment with your eye care provider, ask what services they provide and if it is relevant to the healthcare needs that you have. If they don’t provide the service, the medical professional will be able to refer you to a specialist that can take care of you.
As with all medical care, if you think you need a consultation for your eyes, your first stop should be at an optometrist. They will assess your eyesight and should there be anything that needs to be evaluated further, you will be referred to a specialist. This will ensure that the correct steps are taken and that your consultation fees are covered.