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Ophthalmology Specialist Doctor
Ophthalmology Specialist Doctor
As the name suggests, eye specialist doctors have specific expertise in ophthalmology – a branch of medicine that deals with all matters relating to the eye. Such specialist doctors understand the ins and outs of the eye and are known as an ophthalmologist.
Derived from the Greek word ‘opthalmos’ which means abnormalities of the eye, ophthalmology is a branch of medicine that studies eye physiology and diseases.
An ophthalmologist has the authority to perform examinations, diagnose eye diseases, and perform surgery if necessary.
About The Human Eye
As the sense of sight, the eye plays a highly vital function for humans. Even so, the eyes often experience disorders – either congenital, through contact with foreign objects, or triggered by other diseases experienced by a person.
To learn more about what specifically is handled by ophthalmology specialists, the following is an explanation of the tissues that make up the eye and their functions:
- The cornea, the outermost tissue of the eye which is shaped like a dome and is transparent. The cornea functions as a pathway for light into the eye and regulates how much light is captured so that you can see objects clearly.
- Anterior Chamber or Front Eye Chamber, a tissue located behind the cornea which is shaped like a sac and contains aqueous humor fluid that carries nutrients to the eye tissue. In addition, this fluid also functions to balance the pressure in the eye, which if impaired, may cause diseases such as glaucoma.
- Sclera, a hard white membrane with fibrous tissue that covers the entire eyeball except the cornea. This tissue is part of the muscles that move the eyes.
- Iris and pupil, part of the eye that is interconnected. The iris is a ring-shaped membrane that surrounds the pupil. The pupil is a small, dark circle that can enlarge and shrink. The iris regulates the amount of light entering and regulates the pupil opening.
- The lens, part of the eye that lies behind the iris and pupil, with an elastic and transparent structure. Its function is to help focus light and objects on the retina. As we get older, the elasticity of the lens can decrease and cause vision problems (blurry objects).
- Choroid, contains many blood vessels and is located between the sclera and the retina. Its function is to supply blood and nutrients to all eye tissues, especially the retina.
- The conjunctiva, a thin layer that covers the entire front part of the eye, except for the retina.
- The retina, a tissue that is sensitive to light and lines the inner surface of the eye.
- The optic nerve, a network that carries impulses previously received by the retina.
- The macula, a sensitive area in the center of the retina, also has a fovea, a tissue that helps to sharpen objects.
Diseases Treated by Ophthalmologists
Not all eye complaints need to be handled directly by an ophthalmologist. Some minor eye complaints, such as red eyes and tired eyes, can be treated by a general practitioner.
For more serious eye diseases such as the following, it is recommended for patients to see an ophthalmologist:
- Injury to the cornea
- Corneal dystrophy
- Vitreoretinal diseases (such as diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration)
- Nearsightedness and farsightedness
- Benign tumors and pseudotumor
Medical Procedures Performed by Ophthalmologists
Prior to seeing an ophthalmologist, it is necessary to know that there are optometrists and opticians who also treat vision problems. The difference is, an optometrist can provide a diagnosis of eye disorders while an optician can help you choose glasses or contact lenses.
Meanwhile, ophthalmology specialists have a broader scope of work and have a deeper understanding of the eye. They are specialist doctors who are good at eye health and are able to provide comprehensive examination – from providing a diagnosis, determining treatment, prescribing medications, to performing surgery.
An ophthalmologist will trace the patient’s medical history and family history of eye diseases. This is done to determine whether the eye disorder is congenital or not. Patients will also be asked about the symptoms they are experiencing and how long the symptoms have lasted.
The ophthalmology doctor might also prescribe and perform vision tests ranging from reading ability, distance vision test, and color perception. In some cases, ophthalmologists also perform additional tests to detect whether the disease is triggered by another disease. This is particularly for glaucoma patients – they will go through a tonometry examination to measure eye pressure.
The ophthalmologist will then be able to provide a diagnosis and determine the suitable course of treatment which can include:
- Eye surgery
- Plastic surgery (eyelid surgery)
- Laser surgery
- Corneal transplants
When to See an Ophthalmologist?
When you plan to see an ophthalmologist, you will undergo a general eye consultation first. The general eye consultation is conducted to find out your problems based on the symptoms experienced. In practice, this consultation will involve an ophthalmologist, optometrist, or optician.
Some conditions that need to be consulted with an eye specialist include:
- Decrease in visual function in the eye or complete vision loss
- Occurrence of changes in vision such as the appearance of spots, flashes of light, streaks, waves, and sudden double vision
- Physical change in the shape of the eye.
- Changes in the vision range or color.
In addition, eye consultation is also necessary when:
- A patient gets older, which affects his/her eyesight
- The eye organs are prone to allergies.
- A patient has congenital eye diseases such as cataracts and retinal degeneration.
- Required routine eye check-ups as a form of eye care
- An eye injury occurs that causes vision changes and bleeding.
To prevent and care for the eyes, routine examinations are recommended.
Below are some recommendations for eye test frequency based on your age range:
- For 19-40 year olds: eye test should be done every 10 years
- For 41-55 year olds: eye test should be done every 5 years
- For 56-64 year olds: eye test should be done every 3 years
- Above 65 years: eye test should be done every 2 years
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