If you need a new prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses or are experiencing a problem with your vision, it may be time to visit the eye physicians of Austin. Optometrists are licensed medical professionals who have completed four years of schooling in optometry.
However, if you need medical treatment or eye surgery, an ophthalmologist is the doctor to visit.
Optometrists are Doctors of Optometry
Optometrists are eye physicians of Austin who perform regular eye exams and prescribe contact lenses, glasses, and other vision correction options. They also treat minor eye conditions and diseases. Optometrists earn a four-year degree and then attend optometry school to receive a doctor of optometry (OD) degree.
Opticians provide customer service, including adjusting and fitting eyeglasses and contact lenses and answering general questions about eye health and care. They cannot examine or diagnose eye disease and do not perform medical procedures.
Optometrists are primary eye care providers and know when a patient should see an ophthalmologist for more specialized eye care or surgery. These two eye physicians of Austin often work together in the same office to ensure good, cost-effective care. This collaboration has been shown to reduce the number of unnecessary trips to ophthalmologists, saving money and time for patients and healthcare providers. This is a good thing for everyone!
Ophthalmologists are Doctors of Medicine
Although many eye problems and illnesses develop without symptoms, making a medical eye exam part of your annual health routine can help identify severe conditions in their earliest stages, preventing or reducing their impact on your overall health. Medical eye exams also allow for the prescribing of medication for some conditions and even performing surgery when necessary.
Ophthalmologists complete four years of undergraduate schooling and at least three or more years of post-graduate medical education in ophthalmology. This includes a medical school with a rigorous curriculum, an internship, and a specialized ophthalmology residency training program.
During medical school, ophthalmologists have extensive training in all aspects of patient care, including disease management and surgery. In addition, they spend two years of clinical rotations managing patients with different systemic diseases, which makes them familiar with a broad spectrum of medical issues that may affect the eyes and other body parts. This is a significant advantage over optometrists without experience treating systemic diseases in the eyes or other organ systems.
Optometrists are Licensed to Prescribe Eyeglasses and Contact Lenses
Optometrists have an OD (doctor of optometry) after their name. They are licensed to perform eye exams, prescribe corrective lenses, diagnose and treat eye diseases, conduct scientific research, and offer treatment options for certain eye conditions. They also perform essential medical eye care services, such as treating eye infections, and they may refer you to an ophthalmologist if the situation requires more specialized care.
During a refraction test, your doctor determines your eyeglass prescription by measuring various aspects of your eyesight. As a result, you’ll often see your prescription written as an abbreviation, such as OD: 31,5 and OS: 63. The numbers indicate the prescriptions for the right and left eyes, respectively, or OU: 63, a generic reference to both eyes.
You’ll also likely see other measurements, such as CYL and ADD, which describe the strength of your prescription for bifocals or progressive lenses. Those abbreviations, along with the letter RX at the end of your medicine, tell the optician what type and size of lens you need.
Ophthalmologists are Licensed to Perform Eye Surgery
You’ll likely be referred to an ophthalmologist if you have a severe eye condition like dry eyes, glaucoma, or corneal disease. These eye physicians of Austin are the heavy hitters of the eye care industry, as they’re bona fide medical doctors (MDs).
To become an MD, these practitioners go through four years of undergraduate studies, medical school, and at least three years of specialty training in ophthalmology.
They are licensed to perform eye surgery as well as prescribe medications. This is one of the primary reasons it’s so important to find a healthcare professional who displays their licenses, education credentials, and certifications prominently in their office. This ensures you’re getting the best possible care, not someone who isn’t fully qualified or trained. For example, when you have your eyes examined at an ophthalmologist’s office, some of the tests you might be asked to take include: