Our eyes are very important, and therefore, our eye care must be exceptional to maintain them. Many people see eye doctors to treat eye-related problems, have surgery, get tests, and receive treatment. Often times, patients visit a trusted optometric physician, abbreviated as OD (Doctor of Optometry), for care. These doctors can diagnose and treat any issues pertaining to the eye and related systems.
Some older people may suffer from cataracts and glaucoma, while youngsters may have problems with conjunctivitis and other infections. Optometric physicians can examine, diagnose, prescribe, and treat a variety of ailments, from blurred vision and optic nerve damage, to eye disease and retina impairments. Those who have near or far sightedness may be prescribed corrective lenses or contacts to improve vision.
Some need simple reading glasses while others need contacts to wear during the day. Optometric physicians may also be able to perform surgery, such as laser vision correction and other procedures. They provide routine exams as well. These eye care tests can involve reading wall charts, evaluations by state-of-the-art machines, drops, and other tests. Most health care insurance plans cover eye care as part of their offerings, or at least offer a separate add-on package for this area.
Patients who would like to seek out a new optometric physician (OD), ophthalmologist, or optometrist can first ask their primary care physician for referrals. It’s important to keep in mind that optometric physicians are different from opticians, who are not doctors and cannot perform surgery. They are essentially specialists who fit people with eyeglasses and contact lenses; an optometrist or ophthalmologist can treat patients, give exams, and write prescriptions.
If you have an appointment scheduled with your optometrist or eye physician, you may want to first familiarize yourself with some important terms and definitions. The following terminology will help you better communicate with your physician and get the best care for your vision.
- Astigmatism – An astigmatism is a condition caused by a misshapen eyeball. When there is a bulge in the eye, the refraction of light is not uniform in all directions. The result is blurred vision. If the astigmatism is minor, the patient may not notice the problem. Larger astigmatisms will result in blurred vision and headaches. Treatment includes corrective lenses or even corrective surgery.
- Retina – The retina is one of the more important elements of your eye. It is the devise that creates your vision, essentially. The retina is light-sensitive and takes perceived images to convert them to electrical impulses which are sent to your brain for decoding.
- Glaucoma – Glaucoma is a common medical issue that is caused by excess pressure within the eyeball. This pressure can damage the optical nerve and retina, but is treatable with either medication or surgery.
- Myopia – During a routine medical care screening with your optometrist is the best time to be tested for myopia. Myopia, or nearsightedness, can be diagnosed when the doctor examines your eye. Corrective or contact lenses can treat the condition.
- Hyperopia – Hyperopia is the opposite of nearsightedness and happens when the patient has trouble focusing on objects that are close as opposed to far away. Again, treatment is corrective lenses or glasses.
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