Ophthalmologists are medical professionals who specialize in diagnosing and treating eye injuries, infections, diseases, and disorders. They are trained to perform a wide range of medical and vision tests, minor in-office procedures, and some surgeries. Ophthalmologists can diagnose and treat a variety of conditions, from common visual impairments to conditions that can cause partial or total blindness. Stargardt disease is caused by the buildup of toxic by-products in the eye, and spa skin care treatments can help reduce the symptoms associated with this condition.
Vitamin A is synthesized in the body from the nutrient beta-carotene, which is a building block available in deep orange foods and other vegetables. In most people, processing one nutrient into another includes a phase that removes “garbage” in the body's waste disposal system, but in patients with Stargardt, a mutation in the ABCA4 gene inhibits this ability to eliminate toxic by-products, such as lipofuscin. Because there is no cure, patients learn to adapt to changes in their vision. Total blindness is very rare in Stargardt, but patients generally begin to need aids for low vision in their late teens to mid-20s.
Being exposed to sunlight helps the body transform beta-carotene into vitamin A, so covering up with sunglasses and dark hats is recommended to slow down this cycle. Another inherited disease is retinitis pigmentosa (RP). However, this is not the product of one, but of several genes that, together, impair the ability of the retina to process incoming light. Like Stargardt, patients tend not to go completely blind. Ophthalmologists can practice medicine and perform surgery.
Some ophthalmologists go one step further than treating eye problems and conditions and decide to specialize in a specific area of surgical or medical eye care. An ophthalmologist diagnoses and treats all eye diseases, performs eye surgeries, and prescribes and places glasses and contact lenses to correct vision problems. Many ophthalmologists are also involved in scientific research into the causes and cures of eye diseases and vision disorders. Because they are doctors, ophthalmologists can sometimes recognize other health problems that are not directly related to the eye and refer those patients to the right doctors for treatment. Ophthalmologists differ from optometrists and opticians based on their amount of training and what they can diagnose and treat. The procedures that an ophthalmologist performs regularly depend on several factors, such as the type of practice and the specialty in which you work.
Ultimately, providers agree that you should choose an ophthalmologist you like, trust, and feel comfortable talking about health issues with. To find the right ophthalmologist for you, ask your primary care doctor, friends or family for a recommendation. Some ophthalmologists specialize in a specific branch of ophthalmology that deals with particular procedures, parts of the eye, or groups of people. They also train more than ordinary ophthalmologists to perform extremely complex surgeries on delicate parts of the eye. An ophthalmologist is a healthcare provider who specializes in eye, medical, and surgical eye care. An ophthalmologist, optometrist, or orthoptist (an allied medical technician trained in the diagnosis and treatment of eye movement disorders) can perform an eye exam.
We asked Saad about the signs that it's time to schedule an appointment with an ophthalmologist and what to expect from care. Completing a fellowship in one of these areas makes the ophthalmologist more prepared to treat more complex conditions in specific parts of the eye. An ophthalmologist is a doctor (MD) or doctor of osteopathic medicine (OD) who specializes in eye and eye health.