The work of an ophthalmologist and an optometrist has the same goal – to grant you a better vision. However, the two specialists differ in terms of both training and experience.
An ophthalmologist is a specialist with a higher education who diagnoses and treats the eye health problems of both children and adults.
An ophthalmologist first studies to be a general practitioner in order to be able to see the person as a whole, the relationship between individual parts of the body and health problems. After graduating from university, a doctor may specialise in diagnosing and treating eye diseases.
Ophthalmologists also specialise further in their career. The general ophthalmologist operates similarly to an eye-specialised “general practitioner”, who determines the initial diagnosis and treatment. If necessary, they will refer the patient to a specialist for the anterior part of the eye (eyelids, mucous membranes, cornea) or to a consultant for ocular fundus diseases, a pediatric ophthalmologist, a specialist in glaucoma or ophthalmic surgery.
You should see an ophthalmologist when:
From the age of 40, you should regularly schedule an appointment with your ophthalmologist every 3 years. It is recommended for people over 60 to visit an ophthalmologist once a year. As age increases, the eyes change and the hazards increase. For example, glaucoma can be inherited and the risk of developing it increases after the age of 45. The development of glaucoma often begins without symptoms, but as it progresses, it damages the ocular fundus and can lead to blindness. Irrespective of age, both cataracts and diabetes-caused eye damage also require examination and treatment. Scheduling an ophthalmologist’s appointment is the first step towards preventing the worsening of eye conditions.