Specialist spotlight, what is an Ophthalmologist?

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When you have medical conditions that affect your eye both in and around it, your GP may refer you to an ophthalmologist who is a medically trained doctor who normally acts as both a physician and surgeon. Having undergone extensive training, your ophthalmologist examines, diagnoses and treats diseases and injuries that affect the eye.

What is Ophthalmology?

Ophthalmology is the branch of medicine that deals specifically with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of the diseases of the eye and visual system.

There are a number of clinical conditions that can affect the eye, its surrounding structure and the visual system. Ophthalmology involves the diagnosis and therapy to treat these conditions.

What is the difference between an ophthalmologist, orthoptist and optometrist?
They are all professionally trained people who treat people with ophthalmic problems but only an ophthalmologist is a medically trained doctor.

How can I make an appointment with an ophthalmologist?
To see any medical specialist, including an ophthalmologist, you need to get a referral from your General Practitioner (GP) or a private GP.

Common conditions that affect the eye include:

  • Cataracts
  • Macular degeneration
  • Glaucoma
  • Corneal Disease
  • Retinal Detachments
  • Nystagmus
  • Charles Bonnet Syndrome
  • Dry eye

As the population of the UK ages, the importance of eye health services have increased. With the ageing population increasing, the incidences of age-related diseases of the eye are also more evident. If age-related eye diseases are caught early they can normally be managed effectively with existing treatments and medicines.

To practice lawfully in the UK, an ophthalmologist must be registered with the General Medical Council (GMC).

The above information has been sourced from: https://www.rcophth.ac.uk/. There is a wealth of further information and resources for patients available from the Royal College of Ophthalmologist via their website.


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