FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- What is an Ophthalmologist?
- What is an Optometrist?
- What is an Optician?
- What are Cataracts and how are they treated?
- What is Glaucoma?
- Am I at risk for Glaucoma?
- LASIK surgery: Is it right for you?
- When is LASIK surgery a good choice?
- What are the risks of LASIK surgery?
- How often should I have an eye exam?
- Ophthalmologists, also known as Eye MD's, are medical doctors (M.D.) or doctors of Osteopathy (D.O.) who specialize in the medical and surgical care of the eyes and visual system, and in the prevention of eye disease and injury. Before going into practice, they have completed four or more years of college in a pre-medical curriculum, four or more years of medical school, one year of internship, and three or more years of specialized medical surgical and refractive training and experience in eye care. Ophthalmologists can deliver total eye care including primary, secondary, and tertiary care. Specifically, ophthalmologists can provide vision services, contact lenses, eye examinations, medical eye care, surgical eye care, as well as diagnosis and treatment for ocular manifestations of systemic diseases.
- A Doctor of Optometry (O.D.), not to be confused with a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.), is a health care professional trained and state licensed to provide certain primary eye care services. To become an optometrist, one must complete a pre-professional undergraduate education in a college or university and four years of education at a college of optometry, leading to the Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) Degree.
- Opticians are professionals in the field of designing, finishing, fitting, and dispensing of eyeglasses and contact lenses, based on an eye doctor's prescription. The optician may also dispense colored and specialty lenses for particular needs as well as low-vision aids and artificial eyes.
- A cataract is a clouding of the lens of the eye. When a cataract worsens to the point of interfering with daily activities, it's time to have the lens removed. Surgery is the only effective way to remove the clouded lens, and most are now done on an outpatient basis. Over 1.5 million cataract operations are performed in North America each year.
- Glaucoma is an eye disease that gradually steals vision. There typically no early warning signs or painful symptoms of open-angle glaucoma. It develops slowly and sometimes without noticeable sight loss for many years. Many people who have open-angle glaucoma feel fine and do not notice a change in their vision at first because the initial loss of vision is of side or peripheral vision, and the visual acuity or sharpness of vision is maintained until late in the disease. Glaucoma is not curable and vision loss cannot be regained. However, with medication and/or surgery, it is possible to halt further loss of vision. The best way to protect your sight from glaucoma is to get an annual eye exam by a licensed ophthalmologist, or Eye M.D.
- Everyone is at risk for glaucoma. However, certain groups are at higher risks than others: African Americans: Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness among African Americans. People over 60: You are six times more likely to get glaucoma if you are over 60 years old. Family Members with Glaucoma: The most common type of glaucoma, primary open-angle glaucoma, is hereditary. Hispanics in Older Age Groups: Recent studies indicate that the risk for Hispanic populations is greater than those of predominately European ancestry. Asians: People of Asian descent appear to be at some risk for angle-closure glaucoma. Angle-closure glaucoma accounts for less than 10% of all diagnosed cases of glaucoma. Otherwise, there is no known increased risk in Asian populations. Steroid Users: Some evidence links steroid use to glaucoma. Eye Injury: Injury to the eye may cause secondary open-angle glaucoma. This type of glaucoma can occur immediately after the injury or years later. The most common cause is sports-related injuries such as baseball or boxing.
- If you're tired of wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses, you may wonder whether laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK surgery) is right for you. After all, LASIK surgery has a good track record and most people are satisfied with the results. Still, LASIK surgery isn't the best vision-correction option for everyone- and it's not without risks.
- LASIK surgery is a type of refractive eye surgery. During the procedure, an eye surgeon creates a flap in the cornea, and then uses a laser to reshape the cornea and correct focusing problems in the eye. LASIK surgery is most appropriate for people who have a moderate degree of: Nearsightedness (myopia), in which you see nearby objects clearly, but distant objects are blurry. Farsightedness (hyperopia), in which you can see distant objects clearly, but nearby objects are blurry. Astigmatism, which causes overall blurry vision. A good surgical outcome depends upon a careful evaluation of your eyes before the surgery.
- As with any surgery, LASIK surgery carries with it potential risks such as: Undercorrection, overcorrection, or astigmatism; Vision Disturbances; Dry Eyes; Flap Problems.
- You should always schedule regular eye exams because some conditions may come about without warning. Before the age of 20, you should have an eye exam as recommended by a pediatrician or ophthalmologist. It is also recommended to have your eyes screened at least once between the ages of 20 and 39 and then every two to four years until age 65. Regular, annual eye exams, are suggested for people 65 and older. Those who are at a higher risk of developing glaucoma or another severe eye condition should schedule eye exams on a more regular basis at any age (every one to two years).
"THE INFORMATION LISTED IN THIS SECTION IS NOT INTENDED AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR MEDICAL ADVICE, BUT IS TO BE USED ONLY AS AN AID IN UNDERSTANDING OPHTHALMIC PRACTICES AND PROCEDURES. ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN ABOUT YOUR MEDICAL CONDITION."