If you have an eye disease or vision disorder, you may be referred to an eye doctor – also known as an eye doctor or eye surgeon. Ophthalmologists or Ophthalmology CRO are specialists who deal with all medical aspects of eye care, including treatment, surgery, and prescribing contact lenses and glasses, as well as medications for eye problems.
In Australia, ophthalmologists must complete at least 5 years of professional training after becoming a doctor. Most of them are members of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists.
How are they different from optometrists and orthoptists?
Optometrists are university eye care professionals who examine people’s eyes and prescribe and fit glasses and contact lenses. They can advise on vision problems and screen for conditions such as glaucoma. Eye doctors can treat minor eye problems, but they will refer you to an eye doctor who diagnoses and treats more serious eye conditions.
Orthoptists are healthcare professionals who specialize in evaluating and treating eye movement disorders such as double vision and squinting (strabismus) in children and adults. Their role includes caring for people with eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, as well as people with low vision and neurological vision disorders.
What conditions can eye doctors treat?
People are referred to an ophthalmologist when they have:
- Partial or total loss of vision
- Eye injury, pain or inflammation
- Eye disease such as glaucoma
- Medical conditions that can affect their eyes, including diabetes and high blood pressure
- Poor vision that requires professional care
Ophthalmologists are surgeons and can:
- Cataract surgery, in which the lens of a person’s eye is replaced
- Refractive or laser surgery that involves reshaping the cornea to correct nearsightedness,
- Farsightedness, or astigmatism
- Surgery to correct misalignment of the eyes or squint
- Surgery to remove cancer, such as melanoma, from the eye
- Treatment to repair damage caused by an eye injury
Where do ophthalmologists work?
Ophthalmologists see their patients in a clinic or doctor’s office. Many of them work in public and private hospitals. Most of them work in cities.
Some ophthalmologists work on an eye care team, working with optometrists and other healthcare professionals to provide the best care for a person with a chronic eye condition.
How do I find an ophthalmologist?
Ask your doctor or optometrist for a referral or use the healthdirect service finder to find an ophthalmologist in your area. The RANZCO find a ophthalmologist tool also allows you to search for an ophthalmologist with a special interest, such as pediatric (pediatric) ophthalmology.
In an emergency, such as an eye injury or sudden loss of vision, go to the nearest hospital immediately.
How much does an ophthalmologist cost?
Costs vary depending on how much the ophthalmologist charges, the type of care you receive, whether it’s done in a hospital or not, and whether you have private health insurance.
Out of hospital care
If you see an ophthalmologist in their rooms, then Medicare will cover:
- All costs in case of bulk billing
- Some costs if they do not bulk invoice
You cannot use any private health insurance for out-of-hospital care.
Public hospital treatment with Medicare
If you are treated in a public hospital or clinic and you use Medicare, it is free. Medicare will cover all of your costs.
Treatment at any hospital using private health insurance
If you use private health insurance for treatment in either a public hospital or a private hospital or clinic, you will be billed by the ophthalmologist and the hospital. You may also be billed for pathology tests, X-rays and other forms of imaging, and other doctors you see, such as an anesthesiologist. Some of these costs will be covered by your private health insurance.
Visiting specialists can be expensive.
Before you go to your first appointment, ask your eye doctor or his staff about costs. You can also ask what Medicare will cover. If you plan to use private health insurance, you can also contact your health fund.
If the cost is too high, you have the following options:
- Ask the ophthalmologist or his staff for a reduction
- Consider another ophthalmologist or health service
- Talk to your doctor about options such as a different type of treatment
It is important to get a referral from your doctor to see an ophthalmologist. This way, your doctor can pass on useful information and the eye doctor can later inform the doctor about your visit. Also, unless you have a referral, neither Medicare nor private health insurance will contribute to the cost of your care.
What is the difference between optometry and ophthalmology?
Many people are confused about the differences between optometry and ophthalmology. Although they both deal with eye care, there are a few common misconceptions between them. Both ophthalmologists and optometrists play an important role in providing vision care, but their level of training and expertise is quite different.
Optometrists are vision care professionals who provide primary vision care, from vision testing and correction to diagnosis, treatment and management of vision changes. An optometrist is not a doctor. They earn the Oncology CRO degree after completing four years of optometry, preceded by at least three years of college. They are licensed to practice optometry, which primarily includes performing eye exams and vision tests, prescribing and dispensing corrective lenses, detecting certain eye abnormalities, and prescribing medications for certain eye conditions.
An ophthalmologist is a doctor who specializes in eye and vision care. Ophthalmologists differ from optometrists in their level of training and what they can diagnose and treat. As a doctor who has complete college and at least eight years of additional medical training, an ophthalmologist is licensed to practice medicine and surgery. An ophthalmologist diagnoses and treats all eye diseases, performs eye surgery, and prescribes and fits glasses and contact lenses to correct vision problems.
While ophthalmologists are train to care for all eye problems and conditions, some specialize in a specific area of medical or surgical eye care. This type of ophthalmologists are subspecialist. They usually complete one or two years of additional, more in-depth training called a fellowship in one of the major areas of specialization, such as glaucoma, retina, cornea, pediatrics, and more. This added training and knowledge prepares the ophthalmologist to care for more complex or specific conditions in certain areas of the eye or in certain groups of patients.
Reach out to Vial
Your vision depends on seeing the right eye doctor at the right time,. So it’s important to know the difference between eye professionals. To learn more about the differences between optometry and ophthalmology or to schedule an appointment in Medford, contact Vial.