If you suspect you have cataracts, you may be confused about the individual roles of your optometrist and ophthalmologist. While both play an important part in eliminating your vision problem and restoring your eyesight, your ophthalmologist will perform the surgery while your optometrist will aid in diagnosis and follow-up care. You need both professionals to keep your eyes healthy and seeing clearly. Take a look at what your diagnosis entails and what treatments are available:
If the lens of one or both of your eyes becomes increasingly clouded, progressively making it more difficult to see, you may have cataracts. The cataract causes the light that comes into your eye to scatter, making the images sent to the retina blurry. Cataracts have a variety of causes, including heredity, age, diabetes, obesity, and smoking.
Your cataracts are most likely to be diagnosed during your yearly trip to the optometrist. However, if your vision sharply deteriorates between visits, you need to schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Cataracts are diagnosed through a variety of methods, including a visual acuity measurement, lens evaluation, intraocular pressure measurement, and a retinal exam.
Although your optometrist is a highly trained medical professional, she cannot perform surgery on your eyes and will refer you to an ophthalmologist, like Valentine Eye Care. Your ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who has received at least eight years of post-college training. Your doctor may give you several options for treatment, including a phacoemulsification. During this procedure, an incision is made on the side of your cornea, allowing your doctor to insert a probe that uses ultrasound waves to destroy the lens.
You can also choose extracapsular surgery that removes the core of your lens in one piece. After the lens is removed and all the pieces suctioned out, your doctor will replace your lens with a plastic model.
Advances in cataract surgery have allowed for the increasing use of lasers and higher quality lenses, all of which may be choices for you depending on the condition of your eyes. You may see your ophthalmologist at least once after surgery, but some of your follow-up care can usually be taken over by your optometrist.
Correcting your cataracts requires a partnership between your optometrist and your ophthalmologist. Both have important roles to play. Your optometrist will be the one diagnosing your condition and recommending a physician for your surgery. She will also be involved in your post-operative care. Having these two health professionals manage your care will lead to greatly improved vision for you.