What is Ophthalmology?

What is Ophthalmology – Overview

Ophthalmology is the applied practice of diagnosing, preventing, and treating conditions affecting the anatomy or physiology of the human eye.

The term “ophthalmology” derives from the Greek roots “ophthalmos,” meaning ‘eye,’ and “-logia,” meaning ‘study of.’ Therefore, ophthalmology means ‘the study of the eye.’

On the other hand, an ophthalmologist is an individual who has years of specialized training in surgical and medical ophthalmology, concentrating on the diagnosis, practices, and methods of ophthalmology eye exams and treatments, both surgical and medical.

Since an ophthalmologist can perform eye surgery, including cataract surgery and laser eye surgery, commonly known as Lasik, they are considered medical and surgical specialists.

Branches of Ophthalmology

While ophthalmology is a precisely defined medical discipline, there are sub-specializations that individuals studying this line of medicine can specialize in. Some of the most common sub-specializations of ophthalmology include:

Neuro-ophthalmology: This sub-specialization deals with visual impairments caused by nervous system issues, particularly in the brain

Ocular oncology: This sub-specialization deals mainly with cancer of the eye or cancer of parts of the eye and eye tumors

Ophthalmic pathology: This is the sub-specialization that deals with the diagnosis and study of diseases of the eye and its adnexa, not specifically known as surgical ophthalmology.

Pediatric ophthalmology: This sub-specialization deals with eye conditions affecting infants or young kids, such as misaligned eyes, otherwise known as strabismus

Ophthalmology Training

Ophthalmology is the discipline studied by physicians who want further training in eye care and treatment after clearing medical school.

As certified medical doctors, ophthalmologists are licensed to practice medicine but, more importantly, to diagnose, treat, and prevent eye conditions.

An ophthalmologist completes a minimum of three years of residency training in ophthalmology after medical school, focusing on the medical and surgical care of eye disorders. This is in addition to a one-year medical or surgical internship.

Some ophthalmologists are also involved in scientific studies and evaluations in an attempt to find cures for eye conditions.

Which Conditions Does Ophthalmology Cover

The discipline of ophthalmology covers the comprehensive spectrum of eye care, including the diagnosis and treatment of all conditions of the eye and visual system, prescription of glasses and contact lenses, and performing surgical procedures as necessary.

Apart from patient care, the discipline of ophthalmology also covers scientific studies to determine the cause of eye diseases and visual problems.

Some of the common conditions this discipline covers include:

1. Amblyopia, otherwise known as lazy eye

2. Astigmatism: This is an eye condition that leads to blurred vision

3. Cancer of the eye or any eye parts, including intraocular melanoma and retinoblastoma

4. Cataracts: This condition features a cloudy lens and can cause impairment

5. Conjunctivitis, otherwise known as pink eye

6. Corneal dystrophy: This is an uncommon genetic and progressive eye condition that affects the cornea in both eyes

7. Diabetic retinopathy: This is a condition where the optical vessels of the retina are damaged due to a complication of diabetes

8. Dry eyes: This is a condition whereby the eyes cannot produce enough tears

9. Glaucoma: This is a condition whereby there is damage to the optical nerve

10. Hyperopia, otherwise known as farsightedness

11. Macular degeneration

12. Myopia, otherwise known as near-sightedness

13. Presbyopia: A condition where the eyes can’t focus due to aging

14. Retinal detachment: This condition can cause loss of vision

15. Uveitis: This is a group of eye conditions that harms the eye tissue, including the lens, optical nerve, and retina

16. If you’re an adult aged 40 and above, you should see an ophthalmology specialist for routine eye check-ups, even if no symptoms are established.

What Can You Expect from an Ophthalmology Exam

Visiting an ophthalmology specialist means having your eyes seriously checked for eye problems. You’ll be asked about your medical history and symptoms during your appointment. The ophthalmology specialist will then review your eyes for the following:

1. Eye muscle coordination

2. Intraocular pressure

3. Peripheral vision

4. Pupil response to light

5. Refraction to see whether you need contacts or spectacles

6. The well-being and function of eyelids

7. Visual acuity

Depending on the results of these tests, an ophthalmology specialist will decide the most appropriate course of action to improve your eyes and prevent symptoms from worsening.

The likely treatments for eye diseases include eye drops or pills and contact lenses or spectacles (eyeglasses) to correct vision.

Advanced conditions require the ophthalmology specialist to perform surgical procedures such as Lasik, and sometimes, you can be referred to a sub-specialist for better care.

Final Thought

To sum it all up, ophthalmology is the discipline that caters to diagnosing and treating eye conditions.

Issues of the eyes accumulate over time, and thanks to this discipline, they can be prevented by regular check-ups; you need to visit an ophthalmologist.

See Also

Ophthalmology Research Grants

Jobs for Ophthalmologist

Does Insurance Cover Cataract Surgery

Does Medicaid Cover Eye Exams

Good Qualities in a Doctor

Best Non Clinical Physician Jobs

Does LASIK Hurt During and After Operation

After Caracact Surgery Care

Current Version
May 29, 2022
Written By
Shubham Grover
March 23, 2024
Updated By
Andrea Morales G.

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