Optometry is a branch of healthcare that examines, diagnoses, and treats the eyes, vision, and disorders related to the eyes and vision systems. People often think optometry only relates to eyeglasses or contact lenses, and while that is a part of optometry, it is not the entire job description.
When discussing optometry and optometrists there is a lot of confusion with ophthalmologists and opticians who also work with disorders of the eyes and vision systems. The difference between these specialists is nuanced but comes down specifics of training and education. Optometrists have a doctorate level education and provide front-line eye care. Optometrists are typically the first doctor a person sees for a routine eye checkup or if they have questions about their eye health.
When to See an Optometrist
Most people will see an Optometrist during their eye exam, but how often should an adult get an eye exam? Authorities in eye health say adults should get an eye exam every one to two years. The frequency of your eye exams will depend on your overall health and any existing illnesses or disorders.
People with diseases that can affect eyesight or eye health such as lupus or diabetes should have an exam annually. Annual or bi-annual exams typically catch any issues that should be monitored or treated.
Other times a person should schedule an appointment with an Optometrist is if they suffer from chronic eye illness such as dry eyes.
Choosing An Optometrist
One of the biggest tips that can be helpful is to write your questions and concerns about your eye health in the days and weeks leading up to your appointment with the optometrist. In the heat of the moment sitting face to face with our health care providers, it’s natural to forget questions and even some of the issues you may have been struggling with. Having a list of questions and concerns can combat this.
Additionally, prior to the day of the appointment, it’s recommended that the patient ask if the optometrist plans to dilate their eyes. Eye dilation is a process that involves an optometrist using special eye drops that widens the eye allowing a better look inside. This process often causes temporary blurring of the eyes for up to about 90 minutes after the procedure. Since the patient cannot drive themselves during this time, it may be helpful to bring a friend or loved one with you to the appointment if eye dilation will be part of your exam.
For more information about the optometry services offered at Southside Medical Center and caring for the health of your eyes, please speak with our educated staff. We are conveniently located in Atlanta, GA. Contact us today to schedule your appointment!