The word ophthalmology comes from the original Greek and means ‘the study of the eye’. The ophthalmology department of a hospital (or a specialty ophthalmologic hospital, such as Moorfields), therefore is referring to the branch of medicine concerned with eye diseases, or anything related to vision or the physical structure of anything around the eye, such as the eye socket and eyelid. For such a small body part, the eye is remarkably complex and interconnected with the brain, transmitting data back and forth in an amazing relay of light, neural signals, and so on. Of the five senses, humans probably rely most on sight as a way to navigate the world and process information. That’s why maintaining good eye health is so important and should become part of your overall approach to well being and healthcare.Thus, an ophthalmologist has a huge role to play in an individual’s life.
1. Who Is an Ophthalmologist?
If you’re experiencing any problems with your eyesight, or if you suffer from a medical condition that affects the vision, such as diabetes or thyroid disease, your GP will be likely to refer you to the ophthalmology clinic as part of your care. The medical doctors, who specialize in the eye, called ophthalmologist can examine and assess patients, make a diagnosis, manage conditions and provide treatment (including surgery). These doctors work as part of a multi-disciplinary team that might include nurses and optometrists, as well as other specialists such as neurologists, endocrinologists or pediatricians, depending on the case. Ophthalmology specializes in the study of the eye. But, ultimately it treats the whole patient, including the mental aspects of care.
2. When to Meet an Ophthalmologist?
So, when should you see an ophthalmologist? If you’ve been having trouble with your eyesight (such as decreased or double vision, loss of peripheral vision, distortion, or seeing haloes or “floaters”), you should visit the ophthalmology department. If you’ve had an injury to the eye, or having eye pain or have noticed a bulging in one or both eyes, or have cysts or other issues on your eyelids, you’ll need to see an ophthalmologist as well. But, in cases of severe headache, injury or sudden loss of vision, please go to A&E first, as you may need immediate treatment.
3. Why Should You Meet an Ophthalmologist?
Patients with thyroid disease, diabetes and certain types of cancers should also be under an ophthalmologist’s care as part of overall treatment. There are so many factors that relate to vision and eye health that it’s advisable to make an ophthalmologist visit part of your healthcare routine, especially as we age. Even the hormonal changes brought on by pregnancy can affect the eyes. So, always talk to a doctor if there’s anything that concerns you. Eye doctors are skilled in educating patients about their medical conditions.
4. How Does an Ophthalmologist Work?
As medical doctors, ophthalmologists also perform surgery, including laser refractive operations such as LASIK, implanting artificial eyes, and repairing the optical nerve, tear ducts and eye sockets. Some eye doctors even do cosmetic surgery, or oculoplastics, for patients affected by injury or congenital conditions, as well as those, who quite simply want a more youthful appearance.
Finding an eye doctor you can trust is critical to ensuring you get the highest possible standard of care. Good eyesight is precious and you should only consult with a highly trained, experienced, and certified practitioner.