Choosing an eye doctor is one of the most important decisions you can make. One of the first considerations is choosing the correct type of eye doctor: optometrist or ophthalmologist. What is the difference? We’ll explore that but, fortunately for you, both types of doctors are at Elmquist Eye Group where you will find the best eye doctors near Naples, Florida.
Why Vision Exams Are Important
Either an optometrist or an ophthalmologist can perform your dilated eye exam. We recommend at least an annual eye exam for regular vision checks. These exams are particularly important if you are over age 60 because eye diseases like glaucoma and macular degeneration, often set in at this time. African Americans over age 40 are also at higher risk for glaucoma, so these exams are very important. Finally, people with chronic health conditions like diabetes are also at higher risk for eye problems, so exams are very important.
An optometrist is a licensed physician who checks eyesight, performs eye exams, prescribes corrective lenses, and diagnoses and treats various eye conditions. These physicians have doctor of optometry degrees, the equivalent of a medical degree that involves four years of training in optometry. They must pass a national board exam to practice medicine and participate in regular continuing education to stay current in their skills.
These doctors perform dilated eye exams and prescribe topical, oral and injectable medications. An optometrist can also perform certain surgeries of the eye, such as tear duct or corneal procedures or foreign body removal. Some optometrists have subspecialty training in pediatric or geriatric eye care or neuro-optometry for treatment of glaucoma and macular degeneration.
An ophthalmologist has a standard medical degree with a four year residency in ophthalmology with a focus on both medical care and surgery. In total, these doctors have 12 years of training and are either MDs or DOs (doctor of osteopathy). It is important for your physician to be board-certified, like our Elmquist doctors, who are certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology.
These doctors are medical-surgical specialists who perform all types of eye surgeries. Many are specially trained to do laser surgeries, and many ophthalmologists have subspecialties that focus on certain eye regions, such as a retinal or optic nerve specialty. A retinal specialist would treat diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration, both of which are diseases of the retina. Ophthalmologists may also have a specialty in ocular oncology to focus on cancers affecting the eye.
An Important Decision
Most people only need to have annual vision exams, and most experience good eye health for their lifetimes. However, it is so important to choose an eye practice with both kinds of doctors. Most eye diseases like macular degeneration and glaucoma can only be detected in a vision exam, and early treatment is key to preserving your vision. Why not come to the best eye doctors near Naples, Florida? At Elmquist Eye Group, we offer comprehensive vision care for every age and every need. Give us a call today and make an appointment. We want you to be our next new patient.