What Does an Optometrist Do?

27 October 2020
 Categories: , Blog

An optometrist is a qualified health professional who specialises in eye care, both in terms of helping to prevent certain disorders and diseases and helping people to adjust to poor sight through the provision of glasses, contact lenses and other lifestyle improvements.

People think of optometrists as people who prescribe and dispense glasses. This is certainly one of their functions, but their primary function is really preventative. People are encouraged to have eye exams from an early age, as this is the best way of detecting any potential problems.

Eye disorders

These problems may relate to different types of loss of vision, some of them minor and some of them major. Glaucoma and cataracts are thought of as the two major areas of sight disorder and disease that can be diagnosed by optometrists. In both of these conditions, early diagnosis is critical to any hope of treating them effectively.

Early diagnosis can only happen with regular eye exams, which can identify not only these diseases but also more common problems such as eye coordination and focusing disorders.

An eye examination will often lead to the optometrist recommending some type of glasses or contact lenses for the individual, as well as prescribing any appropriate medication needed. The optometrist will identify the correct prescription of the glasses, help the individual select the correct type frame and make sure they fit comfortably.

If the individual prefers contact lenses, an optometrist will make sure they are the correct prescription and be able to give advice on how to fit them and on any day-to-day problems that people experience with their usage by way of aftercare.

General eye health

An optometrist will also use an eye examination to be able to give general advice on eye care to any individual, aside from diagnosing any disease or disorder. Vision protection is something that is crucially important to understand, especially in today's world where many people spend a large part of their day staring at screens and smartphones.

The effect of this on someone's vision over a period of time can often lead to problems that necessitate some type of medical intervention. An optometrist can help advise on the best way to use lighting and screen selection in order to minimise any potential problems.

Eye examination

An optometrist will use their skills and experience to conduct a thorough examination of every person they see. This will normally include taking a case history, including family health problems. Some diseases like glaucoma can be hereditary, and this forms an important part of the exam.

In addition, the optometrist will examine an individual's eyes, get the individual to do certain eye tests, measure eye movement and coordination and assess the eyes for any focusing disorder such as myopia.

The optometrist will make a judgement about the individual's sight and talk through with them what their conclusions are. This may necessitate a referral to an ophthalmologist, or possibly a local doctor. An ophthalmologist is an eye specialist who performs eye surgery and treats most types of eye diseases.