Question: My mother sees an ophthalmologist a few times a year to monitor her glaucoma. We have a strong family history of this disease on both sides of the family, but I do not have any signs of developing it yet. Should I be seeing an ophthalmologist or my family optometrist for routine checkups in this case?
Answer: Given your strong family history, you are wise to take a proactive approach to your eye care, and your optometrist and family doctor will be able to provide guidance for you based on your specific health history and needs. Optometrists are well-qualified to monitor all aspects of eye health, and most modern optometry offices, including ours, have diagnostic equipment that in decades past was only found in ophthalmology practices. Fundus cameras for viewing patients’ retinas and optic nerves, machines for measuring intraocular pressure, and visual field analyzers to check for any field loss due to disease are all pieces of instrumentation typically seen in your optometrist’s office and will be used to closely monitor your eyes, including watching for any signs of developing glaucoma.
An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who further specializes in eyes. They often have an area of special interest in which they have even more knowledge and expertise, such as retinal disease, cataract surgery, pediatrics, or the like, and they are primarily seen by referral from your family doctor, your optometrist, or another specialist. If you do not currently have a specific eye condition and have not been referred by any of the above healthcare providers as requiring further diagnosis or treatment of one, generally you will not be scheduled with an ophthalmologist. However, if your optometrist sees symptoms that raise any flags with regard to some aspect of your eye health or feels that you would benefit from seeing an ophthalmologist for any reason, be assured that they will refer you to the appropriate specialist for further investigation.
At Mayfair Optometric Clinic we provide a welcoming environment for patients to receive eye exams and pick out the perfect eyewear that works for each individual. Please give us a call to book your appointment with Dr.Peddle or myself.