An optometrist is a doctor who specializes in studying the mechanisms of occurrence and development of diseases of the organs of vision. During the consultation, the ophthalmologist diagnoses diseases of the visual organs, prescribes appropriate therapy and the necessary preventive measures to improve the quality of vision.
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- Diseases that the optometrist treats
- Oculist and ophthalmologist: what's the difference?
- When should I go with my child to the optometrist?
- Routine examination of the child by the ophthalmologist
- Urgent examination of the child by an ophthalmologist
- How is the appointment with the optometrist
- Eye test chart
- Analyzes and examinations by an optometrist
- This is important to know!
- Appointment with an ophthalmologist
Diseases that the optometrist treats
The oculist conducts a correction and prescribes a course of treatment for diseases of the organs of vision associated with a violation in the light-conducting structures of the eye and the structure of the vitreous body, detachment of the retina, destructive changes in the tissues of the eye and cornea.
An optometrist treats myopia, hyperopia, glaucoma, cataracts, astigmatism and other diseases associated with visual impairment.
Visual impairment is not always the result of pathological processes in the visual organs; in 80% of cases, the quality of vision decreases with the following diseases and conditions:
- Thyroid dysfunction - hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism;
- Arterial hypertension;
- Infectious and inflammatory processes;
- Renal failure and pathology of the urinary system;
- Atherosclerosis, blood and vascular diseases;
Inflammation of the pancreas;
- Pathological course of pregnancy.
It is difficult to correct visual impairments, the cause of which is the deviation of intraocular pressure from the norm, which occurs in a number of diseases, for example, in diabetes mellitus. Deterioration of vision can develop gradually, over many years, therefore, in order to prevent irreversible changes in the visual organs and restore their function, it is necessary to consult an ophthalmologist, during which the cause of the pathology is determined and a course of treatment is prescribed. If visual impairment is associated with pathological processes in the endocrine or other systems of the body, then the treatment should be comprehensive and aimed primarily at the underlying disease.
The most common pathological conditions and diseases with which they seek help from an ophthalmologist are given in this list with a description of the symptoms or characteristic features of the course of the disease for some of them:
- Conjunctivitis is an inflammatory disease of the eyelid mucosa (conjunctiva), during which it turns red and swells, painful sensations, burning and itching appear. Conjunctivitis can occur in the early stages of ARVI.
- Blepharitis is an inflammation of the ciliary edge of the eyelid with swelling, the formation of ulcers and crusts, discharge of an oily consistency can be observed.
- Trachoma is a disease with symptoms characteristic of viral conjunctivitis, which may last for several months if untreated.
- Cataract is a clouding of the lens, which often develops in older people, but can also occur at a young age, it is congenital. Cataracts lead to a gradual and painless loss of vision or a decrease in its quality over several years.
Glaucoma is a disease that develops against a background of constantly increased intraocular pressure, leading to severe lesions of the optic nerve fibers and impaired visual function;
- Spring catarrh is an allergic disease, usually the period of its exacerbation falls in the spring, after which the inflammation lasts from several months to a year.
- Chalazion - a dense ball with a size of several millimeters in diameter appears on the eyelid, it is not characterized by soreness and redness, with the course of the disease the ball does not change in size. (Read also: Causes and symptoms of chalazion, diagnosis and prevention)
Trichiasis - occurs due to deformation of the cartilaginous tissue of the eyelid, as a result of which the eyelashes begin to grow in different directions, exerting mechanical pressure on the mucous membrane of the eyelids and the eyeball. This condition leads to a number of pathologies of the organs of vision, increases the risk of developing conjunctivitis.
- Barley - a purulent abscess appears on the skin of the eyelid or conjunctiva, provoking inflammation and swelling of this area;
- Tearing - can occur as a result of squeezing the lacrimal ducts or appear as an allergic reaction due to increased secretion of the lacrimal gland;
- Keratitis - opacity of the cornea, in which vision is impaired, and painful sensations arise, viral and bacterial infections, constant wearing of contact lenses, allergic reactions can provoke keratitis;
- Scleritis and episcleritis - inflammatory diseases of the outer shell of the eyeball - the sclera;
- Inversion of the eyelids is a deformation of the cartilage of the eyelids, in which they are everted without signs of inflammation, do not fit into place;
Iridocyclitis is a disease of the iris and ciliary body of the eye;
- Presbyopia is a visual impairment in which the ability to focus vision on closely spaced objects is lost. Also called hyperopia.
- Keratoconus is a pathological condition in which the cornea from a spherical shape takes the form of a cone, which causes visual impairments such as myopia and astigmatism.
- Astigmatism is a violation of visual function in which the outlines of objects lose clarity, and straight lines appear curved. It develops due to the pathology of the optical system of the eye, in which the rays of light are focused not in one, but in several points (See also: Causes and symptoms of astigmatism).
- Mechanical damage and injury to the eyes;
Ptosis - drooping of the eyelid, its raising is difficult, but a sign of inflammation such as swelling, burning, itching and redness is not observed if ptosis is the only detected pathology. If there are foci of inflammation in the organs of vision, ptosis may be their symptom.
- Hemorrhages - occur with insufficient blood clotting, due to friction or mechanical action on the eyelids, and can also occur with physical exertion or coughing.
Any inflammatory diseases and pathological conditions of the eyelids, conjunctiva, eyeball and buccal gland require an appointment with an ophthalmologist.
Oculist and ophthalmologist: what's the difference?
Oculist and ophthalmologist are specialists of the same profile, who are engaged in the diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases. Nevertheless, an ophthalmologist-surgeon has a narrow specialization and carries out therapy of the organs of vision only if surgery is necessary, while for conservative treatment they turn to an ophthalmologist.
When should I go with my child to the optometrist?
Examination by an ophthalmologist is necessary for children from the first months of life - this allows you to identify congenital pathologies - cataracts, glaucoma, retinal tumors - and take appropriate measures to prevent further deterioration of vision. In the absence of timely diagnosis and treatment, pathologies of the organs of vision can lead to partial or complete blindness. The first visit to a specialist is carried out at the age of two months, after which, in the absence of pathologies, an examination is carried out every year.
Treatment of eye diseases in childhood gives good results, since during this period the visual system is flexible and has a high ability to regenerate. By the age of 12-14, when the formation of the organs of vision ends, the treatment of eye diseases occurs more slowly.
The optometrist, during a routine examination, which must be carried out annually, determines the state of the organs of vision and identifies possible lesions and pathological processes. This is a necessary preventive measure to preserve and improve vision. There is also an urgent examination, it is necessary when the patient needs emergency help.
Routine examination of the child by the ophthalmologist
The first routine examination is carried out in an infant at the age of 2 months. The optometrist determines how well developed the organs of vision are, whether the child has strabismus or other pathologies; during the examination, the doctor uses special drops that are harmless to the baby, and the effect of their application completely disappears two to three hours before the end of the examination. This is necessary for the timely diagnosis of congenital cataracts, glaucoma, retinoblastoma and other eye diseases.
If a baby is born prematurely before 34 weeks of gestation, then he is at high risk of developing retinopathy. Among the serious complications of this disease are visual impairments up to blindness, low vision. Therefore, premature babies undergo a routine examination ahead of time, at the age of one month. After the first scheduled examination, a regular visit to the ophthalmologist is necessary every two weeks until the child reaches three months of age.
Further, preventive examinations are carried out at 1 year, at 3 years before entering kindergarten and at the age of 6 before school. After a child enters school, his visual system begins to undergo increased stress associated with studies, which determines the need for an annual scheduled examination later.
The doctor prescribes an additional visit to the ophthalmologist depending on the state of the organs of vision, the changes that occur in them in the process of development.
Urgent examination of the child by an ophthalmologist
A child needs emergency help from an ophthalmologist if his or her eyes have been injured, or if there are any foreign objects in the lacrimal fluid or other parts of the eye that threaten the health of the eyes.
There are a number of specific symptoms that parents should notice in order to provide their child with ophthalmological assistance in time:
- The disappearance of the reflex of tracking objects moving within 20 cm from the face in an infant from 2 months;
- Incomplete eyelid cover;
- Strabismus of any type;
- Barley on the eye;
- There is swelling and redness of the eyelids;
- Painful sensations and itching, which are expressed in constant rubbing of the eyes;
- Photosensitivity, bordering on photophobia, or obvious photophobia (when a bright light enters the eyes, the child avoids it);
Severe lacrimation or discharge from the eyes of any other nature;
- Serious head injuries;
- Pathological conditions that a child can tell about by personal feelings (flies, lightning in front of the eyes, defocused, blurred or split vision).
These symptoms are typical not only for children, but it is for babies that complications arise, since they are often unable to express their complaints in a language that parents can understand. When observing at least one of the above signs of eye pathologies, an urgent appeal to an ophthalmologist is indicated.
How is the appointment with the optometrist
For a high-quality examination, you need a good psychological state of the child, a calm mood, openness and willingness to talk. This should be taken care of by both the parents and the optometrist himself, who must show the qualities of a good psychologist in order to receive more complete information about the state of vision from the child himself.
Eye test chart
The examination procedure depends on the patient's age. In the process of carrying out a routine examination, the ophthalmologist conducts the following studies:
- The condition of the eyelids and lacrimal passages is determined;
- The presence or absence of strabismus is determined - for this, the mobility and location of the eyeballs are examined;
- In the process of skiascopy, the degree of refraction and the optical properties of the visual system are determined. This procedure allows you to identify pathologies such as myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism;
- The state of the pupils, their reaction to light is examined;
The study of the fundus is necessary for the timely diagnosis of diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts and hydrocephalus;
- The ability to distinguish colors is determined to exclude color blindness - children aged three years may confuse blue with green or red, this is not considered a pathology.
- Visual acuity is determined - young children are shown pictures, when examining eyesight for schoolchildren and adults, tables with letters are shown.
Based on the results of a comprehensive examination, the doctor prescribes a course of treatment for the identified pathologies, which may include taking medications, physiotherapy, and exercises for correcting vision. If necessary, the optometrist selects glasses.
Due to the fact that in many cases, visual impairments are associated not with pathologies of the organs of the visual system, but with other systemic diseases, the ophthalmologist can prescribe tests and write a referral to specialists of another profile - a neuropathologist, endocrinologist, infectious disease specialist. Chronic vision pathologies that progress over time require constant monitoring by an optometrist to prevent serious complications and loss of vision.
Analyzes and examinations by an optometrist
In addition to the standard examination, the ophthalmologist may prescribe some additional tests that provide information on factors that indirectly affect eye health. Such diagnostic procedures include an immunogram, which shows the state of cellular and humoral immunity, and immunodiagnostics - a study of the influence of infectious invasions, oncological and hormonal diseases on the state of eye health.
Additional diagnostics may be required to detect infectious and parasitic diseases for which the harmful effects on vision have been proven:
- herpes simplex virus;
- toxoplasmosis and others.
This is important to know
- Any vision pathologies associated with a violation of accommodation (the ability of the eyes to focus) require urgent correction. The earlier the corresponding procedures for the treatment of spasm, accommodation paralysis, asthenopia, presbyopia, myopia, astigmatism began, the more likely it is to restore vision and maintain eye health for a long time.
- Glasses are not a treatment for vision problems - rather, they play a role similar to that of a crutch for a person who is unable to walk. Moreover, if you assign glasses to a child in the presence of hyperopia or astigmatism, the negative consequences of wearing them may be irreversible.
- If there is a significant deterioration in vision in one of the eyes, the load of visual perception is completely transferred to the healthy organ. As a result, a strong deterioration of his condition is possible, for example, the development of strabismus. (Read also: Causes and Symptoms of Strabismus)
It's better not to buy into the well-known trick of marketers, namely, free eye examinations in optics stores. Remember that only a certified ophthalmologist can properly assess the quality of vision and eye health in the specialized conditions of an ophthalmological office, which must be equipped with appropriate equipment and properly illuminated.
Appointment with an ophthalmologist
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