- 1 What is ophthalmology?
- 3 Why is ophthalmology important?
- 4 How does ophthalmology (your ophthalmologist) diagnose eye diseases?
- 5 How does ophthalmology/ophthalmologists diagnose eye diseases?
- 6 What diseases ophthalmology/ ophthalmologists study and treat?
- 8 Ophthalmology: treatment methods:
- 9 Subspecialties of ophthalmology
- 11 Magrabi’s takeaway message
What is ophthalmology?
It consists of two words of Latin origin: (Ophthalmos which means “eye”) and (-logia, “study” or “science”) when you put them together it means “the study/science of the eyes”.
It studies everything related to the eyes , its anatomy (its structure) , its physiology (how it normally works), its pathology (whatever diseases that could affect any part or function of the eye), its management (how to diagnose and treat any disease whether medically or surgically or by any other method).
Whoever specializes in ophthalmology is known as: ophthalmologist. An ophthalmologist is a doctor who graduated from medical school then specialized in ophthalmology and took an ophthalmology residency training for at least 5 years and is certified to treat most ophthalmological diseases through a diploma, Master’s degree, PhD, and/or became a member/fellow ophthalmologist.
This is totally different than an Optician who is a technician trained to design, measure and fit your eyeglasses’ lenses, contact lenses and any other devices to correct your eyesight. Opticians cannot work on their own, they must use prescriptions provided by ophthalmologists. You can find them in your eyeglasses store but not inside the clinic or hospital itself, as they are not allowed to diagnose or treat any type of eye disease.
Why is ophthalmology important?
The eye is the window to our souls and vision is one of the 5 senses God created for us to feel the outside world. And since our eyes are very sensitive to the surroundings, it can be affected by various external and internal diseases.
Any change in our eye structure or function may risk loss of vision partially, totally and/or permanently.
Ophthalmology comes to the rescue, as it studies how the eyes and the visual system works normally, it can also detect any slight change in this intricate system. Treating these changes as soon as diagnosed and preventing major and minor complications!
How does ophthalmology (your ophthalmologist) diagnose eye diseases?
Usually the first step in diagnosing in any disease, is to notice a change. And the first person to notice a change in his/her eyesight is the patient itself!
If the patient is an adult, he can complain of:
- difficulty reading
- difficulty driving
- halos around light sources
- blurry far objects
- hazy near objects
- dry eyes
- teary eyes
- red or pink eyes
- lazy eye
- dark circles under the eyes
- yellowish discolorations around the eyes
- double vision
- unequal pupil size
- cloudy pupil
- bluish cornea
- red conjunctiva
- drooping of the eyelids
- popping out of the eyes
- eyebrows and eyelashes loss
- eye floaters
- fast movement of the eyes
- partial loss of vision
- sudden loss of vision.
If the patient is a child or infant, usually the parents or caregivers are the first to notice any abnormal changes in the child’s eyes, like :
- lazy eyes
- unsynchronized eye movements
- excessive tearing
- no tears at all
- baby not being able to grab toys in front of him
- unequal pupil size
- red eyes
- bluish cornea
- cloudy pupil
- eyelids drooping
- other symptoms.
It is crucial to visit an ophthalmologist if you complain of one or more of these symptoms. The earlier the problem is detected, the easier it is to manage it and prevent complications.
How does ophthalmology/ophthalmologists diagnose eye diseases?
When a patient comes with a complain, your doctor takes it very seriously, asking more and more questions about it, like:
- When did it begin?
- Is it becoming better or worse?
- Did it happen before?
- Are there any other symptoms?
- Is it associated with headaches or any other symptoms?
- And of course, many questions related to your medical and family history.
After answering these questions, your doctor has already suspected one or more disease, to confirm his diagnosis he will ask you to undergo some tests like:
- Complete blood picture.
- Hormonal profile especially thyroid hormones.
- Blood pressure
- Random blood sugar
- Visual acuity to detect nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism.
- Field of vision.
- Intraocular pressure to diagnose glaucoma
- Slit lamp examination to diagnose cataract.
- Fundus examination to detect retinal diseases.
- Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT)
What diseases ophthalmology/ ophthalmologists study and treat?
Here are the top ten diseases diagnosed and treated by ophthalmologists:
- Refractive errors (Myopia, Hyperopia, Astigmatism).
- Retinal detachment and diabetic retinopathy.
- Dry eyes or excessive tearing.
- Squint, Strabismus, Amblyopia.
- Eye tumors.
- Uveitis, Conjunctivitis.
- Eye injury.
- Aesthetic problems of the eye, eyelids, and eyelashes.
Ophthalmology: treatment methods:
Each disease is unique on its own and may require multiple interventions for treatment, meaning that one method of treatment may not be sufficient. Usually the ophthalmologist depends on one or more of the following methods to treat a disease:
- With the help of topical ointments, eye drops, oral medicine and much more.
- Surgically: Either traditionally or Laser-assisted.
- Correctively: By using eyeglasses, contact lenses or eye-patches.
- By treating the primary disease: controlling blood pressure, controlling blood sugar, treating the neurological disease, treating the hormonal imbalance and other preventive measures.
Ophthalmology has many subspecialties, and the more time the doctor spent in this subspecialty the more professional he/she becomes in managing its related cases.
Some doctors spend more than 12 years studying one subspecialty of ophthalmology making them experts and pioneers in this field.
Subspecialties of ophthalmology
- Surgeons of Anterior segment of the eye.
- Refractive errors.
- Vitreous-retinal surgeons.
- Oculoplastic surgeons.
- Pediatric ophthalmology.
- Ocular Oncology.
Magrabi’s takeaway message
Ophthalmology is a very intricate study; it deals with one of the most sophisticated systems of our body: Vision. It needs years of practice to become a certified ophthalmologist and In Magrabi hospitals, we not only seek the top ophthalmologists, we mentor them! Providing them will all the tools required to maintain their status as the number one specialists/consultants in their field!