Q:

Who treats eye problems and related symptoms?

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Quick Answer

Ophthalmologists and optometrists treat eye disorders and evaluate eye-related symptoms. Ophthalmologists are medical doctors specializing in the medical and surgical treatment of the eyes and the visual system. Optometrists hold degrees in optometry and are trained to evaluate and correct visual problems and to detect and manage some eye diseases.

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Who treats eye problems and related symptoms?
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Full Answer

In most states, optometrists are licensed to evaluate visual acuity; to prescribe corrective lenses, eye exercises, visual therapy and low vision aids; and to prescribe medications to treat eye diseases. Ophthalmologists can provide any of these services and are also licensed to perform eye surgery, to treat the entire visual system and to treat vision problems that are caused by other medical conditions such as diabetes. A third type of eye care professional, the optician, does not diagnose or treat visual disorders, but assists ophthalmologists and optometrists in providing patient care. Opticians analyze and interpret prescriptions and oversee ordering and verification of eye-related products. They also fit, adjust and repair corrective lenses.

Either optometrists or ophthalmologists can provide routine eye care for most people. To select an eye professional, consider the provider's level of training and experience as well as word of mouth from other patients. Patients with specific eye conditions may wish to seek out an eye care professional who specializes in treating those conditions.

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