What is an Ophthalmologist?

What is an Ophthalmologist?

Board-Certified Ophthalmologist

The Physician who diagnoses and treats all conditions of the eye and vision care

An Ophthalmologist is a Board-Certified Doctor who treats and diagnoses diseases of the eyes, focusing on: the care of the eyes; the orbit (bony structure of the skull where the eyes are located); the optic tract, which goes from the eyes to the brain (where the visual information is processed); and the visual cortex of the brain. Ophthalmologists can perform surgeries of the eyes, dispense medications, prescribe glasses and contact lenses, among others.

When looking for an Ophthalmologist, it is very important that you choose a physician with the necessary credentials and level of expertise to treat your specific problem. You may do your diligence and check the credentials and practice style of the doctor with the help of your family and friends, checking their history and looking into what other patients have to say about their experience under the doctor’s care. At myDoqter, you have access to patients’ feedback about doctors, and you can also see the professional recommendations given by other physicians who have witnessed first-hand the expertise and professional competency of your doctor.

Ophthalmologists are doctors (M.D. or D.O.) with advanced medical degrees and training. The following is a representation of the years of rigorous education and training that an ophthalmologist completes in order to deliver the highest level of medical care:

Origins of the word OPTHALMOLOGY

OPHTHALMO from the Greek word ‘Ophthalmos’ for ‘eye’ + LOGY from the Greek word ‘logia’ which means ‘logic’ or ‘the study of’.

Ophthalmologists treat a comprehensive list of eye-related conditions, including:

Amblyopia: Also known as “lazy eye,” it is associated with reduced vision in one eye.

Astigmatism: Blurry vision associated with nearsightedness (myopia).

Cataracts: Cloudiness of the normally clear lens of the eye and is associated with symptoms like gloomy, distorted, glared or double vision, weak night vision and the need for frequent eyeglasses prescription changes.

Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye): An infection in the eye affecting the white part of the eye and the tissue inside the eyelid.

Corneal Dystrophies: Alterations of the cornea (outer layer of the eyes) that may affect both eyes, often inherited and progressive.

Diabetic Retinopathy: Damage to the blood vessels of the retina of the eye caused by diabetes.

Dry Eye: Occurs when the glands of the eyes do not produce enough tears or … to lubricate the eyes , or when the tears do not have all the correct elements. It is associated with symptoms that are similar to the sensation of having a foreign object in the eye, excessive blinking and a reduction of visual clearness.

Eye Cancer: Cancer in the eyeball and/or the retina.

Glaucoma: A condition where there is damage to the eye's optic nerve as the result of fluid pressure or buildup. It is associated with symptoms like: blurry vision, seeing halos, acute pain in the eye, headache, nausea, and vomiting.

Hyperopia: Also known as farsightedness, this is a condition in which objects in the distance appear clear, while objects close-up appear blurry.

Macular Degeneration: Degradation of the macula (the part of the eye that helps people see directly in front of them).

Myopia: Difficulty seeing things in the distance clearly, while up-close vision is preserved and clear.

Presbyopia: Inability to focus the eyesight on objects that are at arm’s length or closer.

Retinal Detachment: This occurs when the retina pulls away (detaches) from its normal position in the eye. It is often associated with seeing unusual flashing lights and floaters.

Strabismus: Eye movement disorder that makes it difficult to focus both eyes on the same object.

Uveitis: Eye inflammation that affects the middle layer of tissue in the eyewall (uvea). Symptoms include: eye redness, pain, blurred vision, sensitivity to light and dark floating spots.

Ultimately, Prevention and Good Eye Care are the most important steps toward maintaining the health of your eyes, as well as preserving your eyesight. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends patients to have a screening eye exam by age 40. Thereafter, patients may have an eye exam every 2 years, unless they have a condition that requires closer follow up. When you visit your ophthalmologist, you will also receive important information regarding how best to prevent certain eye conditions. Important topics may include:

  • protecting your eyes from harmful UV light by wearing the appropriate UV-protective sunglasses,
  • washing your face twice daily with a gentle cleanser which allows safe cleansing of the eyes,
  • avoid sharing eye makeup products,
  • change your eye makeup products and brushes every 3 months,
  • keeping diabetes under control to prevent diabetic retinopathy,
  • avoid staring at computers screens and mobile devices for extended periods of time.

Your Ophthalmologist may offer you a wide range of treatment choices for your specific condition, and will work with you to find the best-personalized treatment choice and approach. Make sure to discuss all these options and other preventive recommendations with your doctor.

You can read more about Ophthalmology in the following links:


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