Thursday, February 16, 2012

Different Types Of Eye Doctor by Kathryn Dawson

There a few different types of eye specialists. Some are physicians, some are not but when you are suffering from eye problems or a condition that is affecting your sight, it is important that you understand the basics of eye care which includes information about the different eye specialists and doctors available. Most people have heard of an ophthalmologist, an optometrist and an optician, but fewer have come across an oculist or an ocularist. This article acts as a guide to all the different eye specialists who may be involved with your own eye care.

An oculist is actually another term for an ophthalmologist. They are medical doctors or physicians which means they have attended medical school. They are able to diagnose and treat all conditions and diseases that occur in the eye including carrying out laser eye surgery.

An optician is not a physician because they have not attended medical school. They mainly deal with prescribing glasses and contact lenses. An optician will generally have a shop where customers can go for a quick eye test and assessment as to whether glasses are necessary. The optician will dispense lenses to those who need them. They do not carry out invasive treatment of the eyes or provide medical prescriptions.

An optometrist is also not a physician, but they are licensed to examine refractive problems in the eyes by mechanical means. They have undergone many years training as optometrists but not attended medical school. They can perform eye examinations and prescribe glasses and contact lenses, but they are not able to use or prescribe any drugs. If your optometrist discovers a problem with your eyes they will refer you to an ophthalmologist.

An ocularist is actually the technician who creates artificial or prosthetic parts of the eye. When a person undergoes cataract surgery for example, the existing cloudy lens is removed and replaced by an artificial one. An ocularist makes the artificial lens.

Although all of these titles are associated with eye care, it is the ophthalmologist who is the official "eye doctor". They must undertake full medical training and additional training in the field of ophthalmology in order to become a licensed ophthalmologist.

The question to ask therefore is who do you visit when you want to have an eye test or you think you may have a problem? Well, you could go straight to the top and book an appointment with an ophthalmologist. You could end up waiting a while for an appointment however and if it turns out there is nothing seriously wrong then it could be a waste of time. If you are having problems with your sight then the best route is to head to your local optician who will be able to carry out a basic eye assessment and test whether or not you need glasses. They will be able to suggest an optometrist to you if you want to undertake further examination. This is the path most people take if they are only experiencing minor problems with their sight. If you are suffering from blurred vision or seeing lines that are wavy for example then you should book an appointment with an ophthalmologist as there may be something more seriously wrong.

You should regularly undergo eye tests throughout your life as catching a problem early means there is the greatest chance of getting rid of it before it does any serious damage. Regular check ups with an eye doctor are important and should occur at least once per year. If you are having trouble with your site, it may be caused by a minor condition such as blepharospasm or it may be something more serious that will require laser vision correction. Either way, regular check ups will be a big help.