See Optometrist vs Ophthalmologist

When to See Optometrist


Your eye is a window to your soul. It is also a window to the outside world. With sight we read, recognize family, work, play, drive, cook, and many things we take for granted.

Many people with excep­tional sight in youth experi­ence a decline with age. Eyeglasses help correct astigmatism, myopia, and hyperopia. So persons like you may visit an optometrist every year or two. Lens prescriptions improve vision.

When to See Ophthalmologist

Serious eye conditions require more frequent ophthalmologist visits. Five diseases are leading causes of blindness.

  • Diabetic Retinopathy
  • Age-Related Macular Degeneration
  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Eye Injury or Trauma

Glaucoma can be hereditary. There are no known ways of preventing glaucoma, you can reduce the chance of blindness or significant vision loss from glaucoma with early recognition and treatment the disease.

Cataract surgery is very common, with the procedure lasting 15 to 20 minutes on average when assisted by lasers. A synthetic silicone, plastic, or acrylic lens replaces the hardened and discolored natural lens.

When an ophthalmologist detects a condition that requires monitoring, visits may have a fre­quency of every three to six months. Darkness, reduc­tion in peripheral vision, flashing lights, significant floaters or rapid vision depreciation are some of the conditions that may require monitoring, if not immediate eye care.

When to See Retina Specialist

A retinologist specializes in diseases and surgery of the vitreous body of the eye and the retina. This subspecialty is sometimes known as vitreoretinal medicine. Such an eye specialist treats the following, primarily age-related, conditions:

  • Posterior vitreous detachment
  • Macular hole
  • Macular pucker
  • Retinal hole
  • Retinal detachment
  • Ocular penetration

Retinal detachment is a medical emergency where part of the retina pulls away from the blood vessels that supply it oxygen. It can cause permanent vision loss if the retina is not reattached quickly.

Posterior vitreous detachment (PVD) is the separa­tion of the translucent vitreous membrane between the vitreous gel and retina. This can cause distracting floaters. Distraction may diminish after complete separation and gravitational settling along bottom of the eye. Occasionally, this can lead to a retinal hole or tear, requiring prompt attention.

Retinal hole differs from a tear, which can cause the retina to detach from the back of your eye, resulting in blurry vision and possible blindness. Areas of the retina that have holes do not function properly. The specialty eye doctor can close the hole with a laser or cryotherapy.

Macular hole affects a small area in the center of the retina where light is sharply focused to produce the detailed color vision. When a full-thickness defect develops in the macula, the condition is referred to as macular hole.

Maintain Your Vision

Proper eye care involves regular check­ups. Optometrists can prescribe corrective eyewear to improve vision, check for glaucoma, and alert you to more severe conditions. Ophthalmolo­gists monitor or treat conditions that can impair vision. Retinologists correct eye damage and treat the most serious eye problems.

Rigid monovision intraocular lens implants often corrects one eye for near vision and the other for distance vision. This surgery may be (partially) covered by insurance. Depending on the prescription, they may require some dependence on eyewear for intermediate (computer) range, very small text, or extended reading for several hours.

Flexible multifocal intraocular lens implants allow patients to focus on near and far objects. However there may be ring halos when looking into lights at night. Considering them cosmetic, insurance often excludes coverage of these implants.

Make certain your health plan includes eye care. Even if it doesn’t, look past the expense. The cost is worth maintaining healthy vision.

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Updated: Sep 14, 2022

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