What Exactly Does an Ophthalmologist Do?

Ophthalmologist is an eyeful of a long word, and their job is a significant one. These professionals are actually highly experienced eye doctors or eye surgeons. If your eye care provider suspects that you have a visual disorder or eye-related disease, you might be referred to an ophthalmologist.

The Role of an Ophthalmologist

As specialists, ophthalmologists can address any aspect of vision care such as exams for glasses and contacts, diagnosing and treating minor and complex eye disorders and performing eye surgeries.

Common conditions treated by ophthalmologists include:

  • Poor vision requiring specialists care
  • Full or partial loss of vision
  • Eye pain and inflammation
  • Eye injuries
  • Eye-related conditions such as glaucoma and cataracts
  • Health conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure that affect the eyes

Often, your routine eye doctor will make a referral to an ophthalmological professional if you have indicators or complaints that are beyond their typical level of care.

What Surgeries Do Ophthalmologists Perform?

As experienced and highly degreed surgeons, ophthalmologists have the ability to perform surgery and microsurgery at the highest skill levels. Some of the most typically procedures they undertake include:

  • Cataract Surgery—replacement of the patient’s ocular lens
  • Strabismus Surgery—corrects eye misalignments
  • Laser Surgery—a refractive surgery that reshapes the cornea for short-sightedness, astigmatism or far-sightedness
  • Eye Injury Surgery—methods vary depending on the nature of the injury
  • Eye Cancer Surgery—removes ocular cancers such as melanoma

How an Ophthalmologist Differs from an Optometrist

Routine eye doctors who typically provide exams and routine testing along with contacts or lenses are most often optometrists. They differ from an ophthalmologist in that they don’t perform surgeries or treat complex eye conditions, but rather minor ones. If you are insured, you might likely need a referral from your regular optometrists to see one of these specialists.