About Ophthalmologist Speciality

An ophthalmologist/eye specialist is a medical practitioner who treats disorders of the eyes. Along with medical care of the visual system, an ophthalmologist also suggests preventive measures for injuries and various eye problems. The job of an ophthalmologist is extensive and diverse. It requires the study of many problems associated with vision and also their relation with other aspects of health. An ophthalmologist doesn't just treat the eyes, but takes a holistic approach towards eye care and visual system in general.

Ophthalmologists work in the field of medical and surgical care of the eyes. They regularly perform eye check-ups and examination is a part of the routine work of ophthalmologists. Such examinations help in the diagnosis of the specific eye problems. Ophthalmologists can specialize in subjects like glaucoma, cataract, ocular oncology, ophthalmic pathology, etc. whereby they are specialists in treating those particular eye problems.

An ophthalmologist is a healthcare professional who is trained to diagnose and treat children and adults suffering from eye diseases and prescribe and fit you for eyeglasses and contact lenses to correct vision problems.

The medical field of ophthalmology involves the study, research, diagnosis, and management of health conditions that may affect the eyes and vision. With professional expertise, an ophthalmologist may help you keep your eyes healthy throughout lifetime.
 
In order to become a certified ophthalmologist, one must complete four years of graduation from a medical college followed by one year of internship. After this, they will have to spend a minimum of three years of residency training in ophthalmology. During residency, ophthalmologists learn various aspects of eye care, including prevention, diagnosis and medical and surgical treatment of eye conditions and diseases. Ophthalmologists usually practice in hospitals and medical centres, university hospitals, and research organizations. 
 
When do we need an ophthalmologist?    
It is important to take good care of our eyes. Ignoring changes in vision or skipping eye examinations puts them at great risk. If you experience loss of vision or decreased vision in one or both eyes, changes in vision such as sudden spots, flashes of light, double vision, black spots or blurriness in central or peripheral (side) vision, physical changes to the eye or changes in colour vision, it’s time to book an appointment with your nearby ophthalmologist.

What eye conditions does an ophthalmologist normally treat? 

Cataract

A cataract is normally a dense clouding that forms in the lens of the eye. It develops when proteins in the eye form clumps that prevent the lens from sending clear images to the retina. An ophthalmologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of cataract.

Symptoms of cataract
Symptoms include blurred or dim vision, increasing difficulty with vision at night, sensitivity to light and glare, seeing "halos" around lights, frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescription, fading or yellowing of colours, double vision in a single eye.

Treatment of cataract
An ophthalmologist or an eye specialist may suggest cataract surgery which involves removing the clouded lens and replacing it with a clear artificial lens. In case you need cataract surgery in both eyes, the ophthalmologist will schedule the surgery after you’ve healed from the first surgery.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is an eye condition that destroys your optic nerve, which is imperative for good vision. The optic nerve supplies visual information to your brain from your eyes. It is generally caused by an abnormally high pressure in your eye. An ophthalmologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of glaucoma.

Symptoms of Glaucoma
Symptoms include patchy blind spots in your side or central vision, tunnel vision in the advanced stages, severe headache, eye pain, blurred vision, halos around lights and eye redness.

Treatment of Glaucoma
An ophthalmologist may prescribe eye drop medications such as prostaglandins, beta blockers, alpha-adrenergic agonists, carbonic anhydrase inhibitors, miotic or cholinergic agents for the treatment of glaucoma. Additionally, he may suggest laser therapy, filtering surgery, drainage tubes or electrocautery to improve the drainage of fluid within the eyes and lowering pressure.

Macular degeneration

Macular degeneration is a common eye disorder that causes central vision loss. The two types of macular degeneration are dry macular degeneration and wet macular degeneration. An ophthalmologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of macular degeneration.

Symptoms of Macular degeneration
Symptoms include a distortion of straight lines in your field of vision, a reduction in central vision, need for brighter lighting, difficulty adapting to low lights, blurred vision and trouble recognizing faces. 

Treatment of Macular degeneration
An ophthalmologist may recommend surgery to help improve your vision. The surgery involves implanting a telescopic lens on your eye, which magnifies your field of vision.

Diabetic retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is a diabetes complication that can lead to decreased eyesight or even blindness. It’s caused by damage to the blood vessels of the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. An ophthalmologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of diabetic retinopathy.

Symptoms of Diabetic retinopathy
Symptoms include spots or dark strings floating in your vision, blurred vision, fluctuating vision, impaired colour vision, dark or empty areas in your vision and vision loss.

Treatment of Diabetic retinopathy
An ophthalmologist may recommend surgical options such as focal laser treatment (photocoagulation), scatter laser treatment (panretinal photocoagulation) and vitrectomy for the treatment of diabetic retinopathy. 

Dry eyes

Dry eyes is a common eye disease in which your eyes fail to produce enough tears or don’t produce tears that can keep your eyes moist. Dry eyes may sting and can be very uncomfortable. An ophthalmologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of dry eyes.

Symptoms of Dry eyes
Symptoms include burning or scratchy sensation in your eyes, mucus in or around your eyes, sensitivity to light, eye redness, sensation of having something in your eyes, difficulty wearing contact lenses, difficulty with night driving, watery eyes or blurred vision. 

Treatment of Dry eyes
An ophthalmologist may prescribe medicines to reduce eyelid inflammation, eye drops to control cornea inflammation, eye inserts that work like artificial tears, tear-stimulating drugs, autologous blood serum drops. Other procedures that may be used to treat dry eyes include closing your tear ducts to reduce tear loss, using special contact lenses, unblocking oil glands and using light therapy and eyelid massage.

Strabismus (Crossed Eyes)

Strabismus (Crossed Eyes) is an eye disorder in which your eyes don’t line up and look in different directions. In this condition, each eye focuses on a different object. It is more common in children. An ophthalmologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of crossed eyes.

Symptoms of Strabismus (Crossed Eyes)
Symptoms include impaired vision, double vision, decreased depth perception and eye strain or headache.  

Treatment of Strabismus (Crossed Eyes)
An ophthalmologist may suggest eye exercises and corrective lenses for the treatment of crossed eyes. Additionally, he may recommend surgery on certain eye muscles if corrective lenses haven’t corrected the condition.    

Retinal detachment

Retinal detachment is an emergency situation in which there is a separation of the inner layers of the retina from the underlying retinal pigment epithelium. If left untreated, this eye condition can lead to permanent vision loss. An ophthalmologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of retinal detachment.

Symptoms of Retinal detachment
Symptoms include sudden appearance of many eye floaters, flashes of light in one or both eyes, blurred vision, gradually reduced peripheral vision, a curtain-like shadow over your visual field.

Treatment of Retinal detachment
An ophthalmologist may suggest surgical options such as photocoagulation and cryopexy to prevent retinal detachment and preserve vision. Other than these, he may recommend pneumatic retinopexy procedure, scleral buckling procedure or vitrectomy procedure.   

Myopia (Nearsightedness)

Myopia, commonly known as nearsightedness, is a common eye disease in which you can see objects near to you clearly, but objects farther away are blurry. This disease tends to run in families. An ophthalmologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of myopia.

Symptoms of Myopia
Symptoms include blurry vision when looking at distant objects, the need to squint or partially close the eyelids to see clearly, headaches caused by eyestrain, difficulty seeing while driving a vehicle, especially at night.

Treatment of Myopia
An ophthalmologist may suggest wearing corrective lenses to treat nearsightedness such as eyeglasses or contact lenses. Additionally, he may recommend surgical procedures for nearsightedness including lasik, lasek, photorefractive keratectomy or intraocular lens implant.

Eye floaters

Eye floaters are small little strings or cobwebs that float into your field of vision. Generally, they do not cause any pain or discomfort. Occasionally, a large floater may cast a shadow over your vision and cause a large, dark spot in your sight. An ophthalmologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of eye floaters.

Symptoms of Eye floaters
Symptoms include spots in your vision that appear as dark specks or knobby, spots that move when you move your eyes, spots that are most noticeable when you look at a plain bright background, spots that eventually settle down and drift out of the line of vision.

Treatment of Eye floaters
Usually, eye floaters don’t require any treatment. But if they interfere with vision, then an ophthalmologist may suggest a laser to disrupt the floaters or surgery to remove the vitreous. 

Uveitis

Uveitis refers to an inflammation of the middle layer of the eye, which is called the uvea. The causes can be both infectious and non-infectious. An ophthalmologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of uveitis.

Symptoms of Uveitis
Symptoms include eye redness, eye pain, light sensitivity dark, floating spots in your field of vision (floaters), blurred vision, and decreased vision.

Treatment of Uveitis
An ophthalmologist may prescribe medicines that reduce eye inflammation, drugs that fight bacteria or viruses or drugs that affect the immune system or destroy cells for the treatment of uveitis. Additionally, surgical procedures may be performed such as vitrectomy or an implantable device in the eye.  

Red Eye

Red eye is a common eye problem in which blood vessels on the surface of your eye are dilated due to some form of irritation or infection. Red eye can affect one or both the eyes. An ophthalmologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of red eye.

Symptoms of Red eye
Symptoms include noticeable red or pink, wiggly lines across the “white” of the eye, eye irritation or discomfort, itchy eyes, swelling of the eyelids and blurry vision. 

Treatment of Red eye
An ophthalmologist may prescribe antibiotics, eye drops, or suggest wearing a patch to limit light exposure and help your eye heal.

Blepharitis

Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids which involves the part of the eyelid where the eyelashes grow and affects both eyelids. This eye condition occurs when tiny oil glands located near the base of the eyelashes become clogged. An ophthalmologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of blepharitis.

Symptoms of Blepharitis
Symptoms include watery eyes, red eyes, stinging sensation in the eyes, eyelids that appear greasy, itchy eyelids, red, swollen eyelids, flaking of the skin around the eyes, crusted eyelashes upon awakening, eyelid sticking, more frequent blinking, sensitivity to light, misdirected eyelashes or loss of eyelashes.

Treatment of Blepharitis
An ophthalmologist may prescribe medications that fight infection, medications to control inflammation and medications that affect the immune system. 

Astigmatism

Astigmatism is normally a treatable imperfection in the curvature of your eye that causes blurred distance and near vision. It occurs when cornea or the lens inside your eye has mismatched curves. An ophthalmologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of astigmatism.

Symptoms of Astigmatism
Symptoms include blurred or distorted vision, eyestrain or discomfort, headaches, difficulty with night vision or squinting,

Treatment of Astigmatism
An ophthalmologist may suggest wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses to correct astigmatism. Surgical procedures for astigmatism include laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK), laser-assisted subepithelial keratectomy (LASEK) and photorefractive keratectomy (PRK). 

Keratitis

Keratitis is an inflammation of the cornea which is normally caused by an infection and injury. Bacterial, viral, parasitic and fungal infections can cause keratitis. An ophthalmologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of keratitis.

Symptoms of Keratitis
Symptoms include eye redness, eye pain, excess tears or other discharge from your eye, difficulty opening your eyelid because of pain or irritation, blurred vision, decreased vision, sensitivity to light and a feeling that something is in your eye.

Treatment of Keratitis
Treatment of infectious keratitis depends on the cause of the infection. An ophthalmologist may suggest antibacterial eye drops, antifungal eye drops, antiviral eye drops or antibiotic eye drops. In extreme cases, an ophthalmologist may recommend a cornea transplant.

Hyperopia (Farsightedness)

Hyperopia is a common eye disease in which you can see distant objects clearly, but objects nearby may be blurry. Farsightedness usually is congenital and tends to run in families. An ophthalmologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of hyperopia.

Symptoms of Hyperopia
Symptoms include nearby objects may appear blurry, you need to squint to see clearly, burning eyes, and aching in or around the eyes or general eye discomfort or a headache after a prolonged interval of conducting close tasks. 

Treatment of Hyperopia
An ophthalmologist may suggest wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses to correct hyperopia. Surgical procedures for hyperopia include laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK), laser-assisted subepithelial keratectomy (LASEK), conductive keratoplasty (CK) and photorefractive keratectomy (PRK). 

Keratoconus

Keratoconus is an eye disease in which your eye's cornea is unable to hold its round shape. A cone-shaped is formed resulting in sensitivity to light and glare. An ophthalmologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of keratoconus.

Symptoms of Keratoconus
Symptoms include blurred or distorted vision, increased sensitivity to bright light and glare, frequent changes in eyeglass prescriptions and worsening or clouding of vision.

Treatment of Keratoconus
An ophthalmologist may suggest wearing eyeglasses, soft contact lenses, hard contact lenses, hybrid lenses or scleral lenses. Surgical options for keratoconus include corneal inserts or cornea transplant.     

Colour blindness

Colour blindness is an eye condition in which problems with the colour-sensing pigments in the eye cause a difficulty or inability to distinguish colours. People who are colour blind can’t distinguish between red and green. An ophthalmologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of colour blindness.

Symptoms of colour blindness
Symptoms include change in your vision, different shades of red and green, different shades of blue and yellow etc.

Treatment of colour blindness
An ophthalmologist may suggest wearing coloured filter over eyeglasses or a coloured contact lens that may enhance your perception of contrast between colours.

Stye

A stye is a red, painful lump near the edge of your eyelid that may look like a boil or a pimple. They are often filled with pus. An ophthalmologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of stye.

Symptoms of stye
Symptoms include a red lump on your eyelid that is similar to a boil or a pimple, eyelid pain, eyelid swelling and tearing.

Treatment of stye
An ophthalmologist may prescribe antibiotic eye drops or a topical antibiotic cream to apply to your eyelid along with surgery to relieve pressure, in case eye drops fail. 

Double Vision

Double vision is an eye condition in which an individual sees a double image where there should only be one. Double vision can affect one or both the eyes. An ophthalmologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of double vision.

Symptoms of Double vision
Symptoms include misalignment of one or both eyes, pain while moving eyes, pain around your eyes, headache, nausea, weakness in your eyes or droopy eyelids.

Treatment of Double vision
The course of treatment for double vision depends on the underlying cause. An ophthalmologist may suggest glasses or contact lenses if double vision is caused by astigmatism or surgery if it is caused by cataracts.

Corneal ulcer

A corneal ulcer is an open sore that forms on the cornea. It’s usually caused by an infection. Small injuries to the eye or wrongly wearing contact lenses can lead to infections. An ophthalmologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of corneal ulcer.

Symptoms of corneal ulcer
Symptoms include eye inflammation, sore eye, excessive tearing, blurred vision, white spot on your cornea, swollen eyelids, eye discharge, sensitivity to light, or feeling like something is in your eye.

Treatment of corneal ulcer
An ophthalmologist may prescribe antibacterial, antifungal, or antiviral eye medication to treat the underlying problem. Alternatively, you may have to use corticosteroid eye drops. In severe cases, the corneal ulcer may require a corneal transplant. 

Eye injuries

Eye injuries can range from mild to catastrophic causing permanent loss of vision or loss of the eye.  Corneal abrasions, chemical exposures and burns , traumatic iritis are some of the causes of eye injuries. An ophthalmologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of eye injuries.

Symptoms of Eye injuries
Symptoms include intense burning, sensation that something is in the eye, sensitivity to light, blurred vision etc. 

Treatment of Eye injuries
An ophthalmologist may prescribe anaesthetic drops to numb your eye before any objects are removed followed by a course of antibiotic ointment or eye drops for a week to help prevent infection.

Optic neuritis

Optic neuritis is a swelling of the eye that damages the optic nerve, a bundle of nerve fibres that transmits visual information from your eye to your brain. An ophthalmologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of optic neuritis.

Symptoms of Optic neuritis
Symptoms include eye pain that’s worsens with eye movement, vision loss in one eye, side vision loss, loss of colour vision and flashing or flickering lights with eye movements.

Treatment of Optic neuritis
An ophthalmologist may prescribe steroid medications are used to reduce inflammation in the optic nerve. Steroid treatment is usually given intravenously. 

Eye strain

Eye strain is a common condition that occurs when your eyes get tired from intense use, such as while driving long distances. An ophthalmologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of eye strain.

Symptoms of Eye strain
Symptoms include sore, tired, burning or itching eyes, watery or dry eyes, blurred or double vision, headache, sore neck, shoulders or back, increased sensitivity to light difficulty concentrating or feeling that you cannot keep your eyes open.

Treatment of Eye strain
An ophthalmologist may suggest wearing glasses that are prescribed for specific activities, such as using a computer or reading along with making changes in your daily habits or environment. 

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