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Need an Eye Doctor? How to Choose the Right One For Your Eye Problem

Need an optician, optometrist, or ophthalmologist? Here are the types of eye doctors, and how to find the right vision specialist for your eye problem

Have problems with your vision or your eyes? Here's a guide to eye experts, and when to see them.


From Health.com

Serious eye symptoms

Got eye problems? There are a few symptoms that suggest you should see an eye specialist stat. They are:

-Suddenly lose all or part of your vision. You might have a retinal detachment, which could lead to blindness.
-See flashing lights and a bunch of floaters at once—also a red flag for retinal detachment.
-Have sharp pain in or around your eyes. This could mean a corneal ulcer or infection—especially if you wear contacts, or if you have blurred vision, tearing, redness or discharge—and might result in vision loss or blindness.

Each of these problems, plus a need for contacts or other vision aids, requires a different type of eye doctor. Don't know what type of expert to see? Read on to learn the difference between an optometrist, ophthalmologist, and optician and which doctor you need to see, plus when you need to see them.



What's an optician?

What they can do:

Fit and sell prescription glasses and contact lenses (you'll need to get the prescription from an optometrist or ophthalmologist, though)

What they can't do:

Perform medical or vision exams


What's an optometrist?

What they can do: 

Examine your eyes for vision and health problems, like glaucoma or cataracts; prescribe glasses and contacts

What they can't do: 

Prescribe medication (in some states); perform surgery

Wear contacts? A full 99% of us don't clean them properly, a 2012 study found. Here's a quick refresher in lens hygiene: Don't sleep in lenses! Research shows it's about eight times riskier to sleep in them than without them. Do take them out before swimming or showering. Water can get trapped under your contact lens, causing a fungal infection. Do rub your lenses, even if your solution says "no-rub," just to be sure you've gotten the dirt off.


What's an ophthalmologist?

What they can do:

Prescribe contacts and glasses; perform any type of medical or surgical procedure relating to eye care (including plastic surgery)

What they can't do:

Fit or fix your frames (that's handled by an optician)


See more at: Health.com

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Health Magazine: Need an Eye Doctor? How to Choose the Right One For Your Eye Problem
Need an Eye Doctor? How to Choose the Right One For Your Eye Problem
Need an optician, optometrist, or ophthalmologist? Here are the types of eye doctors, and how to find the right vision specialist for your eye problem
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