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What is an Ophthalmologist?
An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor with the responsibilities of both a physician and surgeon. They examine, diagnose and treat diseases and injuries of the eye and around it. You might come across an ophthalmologist, an orthoptist, even an optometrist. They’re all professionals but an ophthalmologist is the only medically-trained specialist.
Ophthalmologists treat all diseases of the eye as well as carrying out eye surgery, prescribing and fitting spectacles, and dealing with contact lenses. Scientific research is often an important part of their role, and they are often practised at spotting other health problems not directly related to the eye, referring patients on to the correct specialist.
When to see an Ophthalmologist?
You might start experiencing distortions, odd halos around lights, double vision, shadows, black spots, or blurred central or peripheral vision. It’s wise to see an ophthalmologist if that happens, or you find you’re losing vision or it decreases in one or both eyes. If you see spots, flashes, streaks or lines of light, your vision goes wavy, or faces are blurred, seek expert help. If your colour perception goes wrong or you suddenly get in-turning eyes, crossed eyes, pain or infection, see an ophthalmologist. Last but not least a family history of eye problems might send you to a specialist, as can an injury, HIV, diabetes, or a thyroid condition.
What conditions does an Ophthalmologist treat?
The eyes are subject to a wide range of problems all of which can be resolved by a good ophthalmologist. They include:
- Advanced vision repair
- Amblyopia- lazy eyes
- Astigmatism and other vision defects
- Bulging eyes
- Corneal Dystrophy and pathology
- Diabetic Retinopathy
- Double vision
- Dry Eye
- Excessive tears
- Eye and eyelid infections
- Unexplained redness
- Intraocular inflammation
- Eye Cancer
- Macular Degeneration
- Retinal Detachment
- Strabismus (squint)
- Various types of uveitis
What subspecialties are included under Ophthalmology?
The main areas of ophthalmology subspecialty are glaucoma, retina, cornea, refractive surgery, paediatric, glaucoma, neurology, anterior segment, ocular oncology, primary care and oculoplastic surgery. Medical retinal specialists handle diabetes, age-related macular degeneration, eye disease from systemic conditions and inherited diseases.