What is the difference between ophthalmology, optometry, and optical?

Ophthalmology is the practice of a medical doctor who cares for the health of the eyes and their vision. Because of their education and training, ophthalmologists can practice medicine and perform surgery. They have advanced training that allows them to diagnose and treat all conditions that affect the eye. They can also test patients' vision and prescribe glasses and contacts.

Optometry is a practice of a doctor who has a Doctor of Optometry degree. This makes them qualified to examine patients' vision, diagnose and treat injuries and diseases of the eye, and monitor the effects of health conditions that can impact eye health, such as diabetes or hypertension. Optometrists can perform a full eye exam and prescribe and fit corrective lenses.

Optical care is provided by a specialized practitioner who checks and fits corrective lenses. They take prescriptions that were written by ophthalmologists or optometrists and use them to select the glasses or contacts that will work best for the patient.

How often are eye exams needed?

This depends on your eyes, vision needs, and health. People who need glasses or contacts should have their eyes examined every year. If you have a problem with your eyes, you should also be seen annually or more often if the eye doctor says it's needed. For people without vision or eye health issues, an exam every two years should be enough to protect your eyes and treat any conditions that come up.

What happens during an eye exam?

During a routine eye exam, the doctor will check your vision to see if you need a new or updated prescription. They will also examine your eyes for signs of any problems, such as cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, or retina issues. They'll discuss any issues you may be experiencing, such as dry eyes or eye strain.

Why are regular eye exams so important?

Having the most accurate prescription for glasses or contacts ensures that you have the clearest vision. This not only helps you see better, but it can also reduce eye strain.

Even if you don't need glasses or contacts, regular eye exams are vital to catch problems such as glaucoma early. Many eye diseases can be treated if they are caught early enough. Eye exams can also uncover general health problems such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, brain tumors, and more.

What is the difference between reading glasses and prescription glasses?

The term "reading glasses" refers to the kind of glasses you see at the drugstore. You don't need a prescription for these glasses, and their lenses have a magnification of about +1 to +4. These can be helpful to grab when you need to see something close up.

However, reading glasses are not prescription strength, so they don't fit your exact vision needs. Prescription glasses are made to the prescription that's written for you. For example, many people have slightly different vision in each eye. Prescription glasses can be crafted with slightly different lenses for each eye. This can help you see more clearly and reduce potential eye strain.

What do I need to bring to my eye exam?

You should bring any glasses or contacts you're currently using to give the doctor a clear understanding of what you've been using to correct your vision. On top of that, bring any health insurance or vision plan information you have.

You'll also need a list of all of the medications you're taking, both prescription and over-the-counter. This includes any vitamins or eye drops you may be using. Some medications can impact the eyes, so let your eye doctor know what you're using.

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