What is ophthalmology?
Ophthalmology is a branch of medicine and surgery concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of eye disorders.
What does an ophthalmologist do?
An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor that acts both as a physician and surgeon. They are specialised in examining, diagnosing, and treating eye disorders and injuries in and around the eye. Additionally, they prescribe and fit glasses and contact lenses to correct vision problems. Occasionally, ophthalmologists are involved in scientific research on the causes and cures for eye diseases and vision disorders.
Some ophthalmologists choose to undergo fellowship training to become specialists in the subspecialties of ophthalmology.
These subspecialties include:
- The Cornea
- The Retina
- Refractive Surgery
- Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
- Ocular Oncology
This sub-specialised training allows an ophthalmologist to work on complex eye conditions that may involve a specific part of the eye. They are also trained to perform intricate surgical procedures on the eye.
What conditions do they treat?
General ophthalmologists diagnose and treat most eye conditions and visual issues, whereas subspecialists tend to treat certain conditions such as:
- Retinal Conditions
- Corneal Conditions
- Cases involving children or childhood eye conditions
When should I see an ophthalmologist?
You should see an ophthalmologist if you are experiencing chronic or severe vision problems or have signs of an eye condition. Some of these signs may include:
- reduced, distorted, blocked, or double vision
- bulging eyes
- excessive tearing
- eyelid abnormalities or problems
- seeing coloured circles or halos around lights
- misaligned eyes
- black specks or strings called floaters in the field of view
- seeing flashes of light
- unexplained eye redness
- loss of peripheral vision