If you develop eye problems, it is important to see the right healthcare professional at the right time. Each of the professionals mentioned above has a unique role to play in helping you.
An ophthalmologist is a medically qualified doctor and deals specifically with the diagnosis and treatment of eye disorders. Ophthalmologists are also surgically training for the management of cataracts and other conditions such as lid lumps. Consultant ophthalmologists are therefore highly experienced clinicians and have the greatest expertise in managing eye disorders. An accurate and early diagnosis will ensure you receive the most appropriate treatment and a great improvement in your quality of life.
Miss Sivagnanavel has over 15 years of experience in managing retinal and general ophthalmic disorders and cataract surgery. She also has experience in research and was awarded a clinical excellence award in 2014, London. Read her full biography here.
Optometrists are healthcare professionals who are trained in the primary care of visual problems. They provide sight testing and can assess and prescribe the necessary corrective glasses or contact lenses. An optometrist is not a medical doctor. Although they are not medically trained in the same way an ophthalmologist is, they do obtain qualifications from the College of Optometrists and are experienced at detecting eye abnormalities. They may then choose to refer to a specialist ophthalmologist. Some optometrists are licenced to prescribe some medicines, such as for the treatment of conjunctivitis.
Opticians are trained to design, verify and fit spectacles, and ensure that the frames are fitted to the best standards. They also fit contact lenses and other devices to correct eyesight. They play an invaluable role in assisting patients with poor sight by helping to identify the best visual aids. They do not test vision or write prescriptions for visual correction. Opticians do not diagnose or treat eye problems and diseases.