Ophthalmology addresses the structure, function, diagnosis, and treatment of the eyes and vision system.

What is it?

Ophthalmology addresses the structure, function, diagnosis, and treatment of the eyes and vision system. Ophthalmology can be concerned with the health of the eye itself as well as the function and alignment the tissue and muscles surrounding the eye.

What are the subspecialties?

Subspecialties of ophthalmology include neuro-ophthalmology, ophthalmic pathology, ophthalmic plastic and reconstructive surgery, pediatric ophthalmology, and uveitis & ocular immunology.

What are the commonly associated medical diseases or symptoms?

The most commonly associated diseases consist of cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and eye cancer. Cataracts is the clouding in the lens of the eye which results in blurred vision. Glaucoma is a group of diseases of the optic nerve in the eye and macular degeneration is an incurable eye disease affecting the retina.

What are the commonly associated medical procedures?

Commonly associated medical procedures include Cataract surgery, LASEK surgery, and phacoemulsification of the eye. Cataract surgery is a procedure in which the natural lens is replaced with an artificial lens. LASEK surgery corrects vision problems by changing the shape of the cornea. Emulsification is an assisted breakdown of protein buildup in the eye to help restore clear sight.

Are there preventative measures that I can take?

There are preventative measures that can be taken to reduce the risk for Ophthalmology treatments. These can include tasks such as keeping up with scheduled vision appointments or lifestyle changes such as reducing time in front of computer screens, quitting smoking, eating a balanced diet, and wearing sunglasses more frequently.

What are the common misconceptions about this specialty?

The most common Ophthalmic misconceptions are in regard to cataracts. One common misconception is that close-up tasks, such as reading or concentrating on small objects, can cause cataracts. This is untrue. Small object focus merely enhances the presence of cataracts, it does not cause it. Another common misconception  is that cataracts can be cured by eye drops. This is also untrue because there is not an FDA-Approved eye drop to cure cataracts. There is also common confusion regarding the levels of eye care specialists. An ophthalmologist is certified and trained to perform eye surgery as well as administer routine eye exams and treatments. An optometrist goes through less training than an ophthalmologist and is not a medical doctor. An optometrist is authorized to administer eye exams, diagnose abnormalities, prescribe medications for eye diseases, and administer contact lenses. An optician has less training than an optometrist and is not permitted to diagnose eye conditions. Opticians fit lenses based on prescriptions from optometrists and ophthalmologists.


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