General Ophthalmology

Definition

The practice consists of all aspects of eye care, including medical and surgical. The practice also covers all aspects of eye power corrections including laser surgery, contact lenses and eyeglasses.

An ophthalmologist is an eye care specialist who was first trained in all aspects of medicine. He/She gained an M.D. (Doctor of Medicine) degree and then chose to continue on in education as a resident in ophthalmology for either three or four years. He/She was then trained to practice in general ophthalmology.

The ophthalmologist's recommendations can be for ophthalmic treatment such as eyeglasses, contact lenses or surgery. Or the recommendation can be for non-ophthalmic treatment. In short, the general ophthalmologist represents the best trained provider of primary general eye care a patient can find.

The patient population eligible for the general ophthalmologist's care covers the entire age spectrum from premature infant to elderly senior citizen.

Recommended Eye Exam Schedule

Early detection of vision problems can mean the all the difference in the world - the sighted world versus the world of darkness. Current recommendations for comprehensive eye examination are:

  • Newborns should have their first eye exam by the pediatrician before leaving the hospital.
  • Children age 5 and under: regular screenings should be performed for children at all pediatric visits. It is recommended that children see an ophthalmologist at least once by age 3 - or any time an abnormality is discovered during screening.
  • Ages 5 - 45: Screenings at 1 - 2 year intervals. Comprehensive exam if experiencing symptoms.
  • Age 45: Comprehensive baseline eye health exam for early detection of eye disease. Follow-up at 1-2 year intervals unless experiencing symptoms.
  • Ages 60+: annually, even if no vision problems are evident. This is the time when most eye diseases begin, many without symptoms. Early treatment can prevent vision loss.
  • *Individuals with diabetes, hypertension, or auto-immune disorders should receive a comprehensive exam for early detection of visual complications.

Children's Issues in Ophthalmology

The visual system in the brain of a child is still developing until approximately 9 years of age. This leads to a completely different set of problems that affect children's vision. Infections, cataracts, glaucoma, lazy eye (amblyopia) and ocular misalignment (strabismus) in children can lead to permanent visual loss lasting into adulthood. Children require periodic examinations to search for predisposing factors that lead to permanent visual deficits. The doctor can detect subtle abnormalities that need to be corrected while the child is very young if he or she is to enjoy good vision as an adult.

Note: This information is not a substitute for professional care. If you are having any problems with your eyes, you should see your ophthalmologist or optometrist for diagnosis and treatment.

Save Your Sight with an Eye Exam.

Dr. Karen Todd explains the importance of eye exams for overall health.


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