What Is Optometry?
Optometry is a branch of health care that focuses primarily on eye examinations and vision tests. An optometrist is a medical professional who has earned the Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree after four years of study in optometry school. An optometrist is not a medical doctor (MD). As a field of eye care, optometry involves:
- Prescribing and dispensing corrective lenses and frames
- Detecting certain eye abnormalities, such as ocular disease or macular degeneration
- Prescribing medications for certain eye diseases
If you have a problem with your vision, your first stop should be to an optometrist. Regular eye exams are a vital part of preventive eye care. At the multi-specialty Medex Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Queens, NY, you have access to a qualified optometry team for diagnostic eye tests and preventive care. Medex also houses an ophthalmology department in-house, which works closely with your optometry team.
What’s the Difference Between Optometry and Ophthalmology?
Both optometry and ophthalmology deal with eye care, but there are major differences between the two fields of medicine. The distinctions between these two branches of eye care include:
- Optometry deals with primary vision care.
- Optometrists specialize in sight testing and diagnosing eye vision issues.
- Optometrists mainly prescribe visual aids, such as eyeglasses and contact lenses, to correct eye vision problems.
- Optometrists are not medical doctors. They provide primary care for eye problems and may refer you to an ophthalmologist for additional or more complex care.
- Ophthalmology deals with the diagnosis and treatment of eye disorders.
- Ophthalmologists have earned a degree in medicine, so they’re medical doctors.
- Ophthalmologists are qualified to perform medical and surgical interventions for eye conditions.
Optometrists are your first-line health care providers. You schedule an annual appointment with your optometrist to check your vision and general eye health. During these exams, you get answers to all your questions and have a comprehensive review of any eye issues. You may end up with a new prescription. Many optometrists have eyeglass frames and contact lenses in the office for you to purchase.
What Does Optometry Involve?
When you have a problem with your sight, a specialist in optometry provides the diagnostic care you need. Your optometrist supplies services that include:
- Annual or routine eye exams and vision testing
- Specific eye exams to investigate a particular complaint
- The diagnosis, treatment and management of vision changes
- Low-vision rehabilitation and vision therapy
- Monitoring any related medical conditions, such as diabetes
- Visual aid prescriptions, including eyeglasses and contact lenses
- Management and treatment of some eye conditions, including glaucoma and dry eye
- Minor medical procedures to correct or treat visual or eye health issues
- Counseling services about available surgical and non-surgical options
- Pre- and post-operative care, for example for cataract surgery
- A referral to other healthcare providers, as needed
At this state-of-the-art diagnostics and prevention center in Queens, your optometry team uses latest medical technology in eye care for effective diagnostics. Your optometrist offers personalized attention, listening to your eye complaints and vision issues before deciding on a treatment plan or vision test to complete.
What Can I Expect in an Optometry Exam?
An optometry visit involves a thorough eye test to determine the level of your vision loss and to check for diseases or damage within your eye. Regular eye doctor visits help you maintain proper eye care and sharp vision. Untreated eye problems worsen over time, causing a decrease in your sight. Your vision changes year-to-year, especially as you get older, which is another reason to get your vision tested every year. At your optometrist’s office, you can expect:
- A review of your medical history and your medications
- A check on the visual aids you currently use
- An examination of your eyes, using various tests, such as a:
- Basic vision test
- Refraction test
- A slit lamp exam to detect glaucoma
- Ocular motility test
- Depth perception test
- Cover test
- Follow-up tests, in case an eye exam reveals symptoms of glaucoma, diabetes or high blood pressure
Early diagnosis of eye diseases is the best place to start treatment. So you must maintain your annual visits to your optometrist at the Medex Diagnostic and Treatment Center, where you not only get your vision checked, but also have access to many other medical specialists. Contact the practice to schedule an appointment with a highly trained team of optometrists.