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[IP] Re: exam exams
First, it should be clarified that ophthalmologists are not "the best."
There are excellent ophthalmologists, and there are very poor ones. Most
fall in between. And the same goes for optometrists: some are excellent,
some are poor and most are in between. Second, most optometrists (all I have
ever worked with) do dilate the eye and they do look at the back of the eye.
Again, generally speaking, they are very capable of diagnosing retinal
problems such as those associated with diabetes. What they cannot do is
treat it should it need treatment. Most optometrists are capable of
determining when treatment is needed and when it is not. The biggest
differences between optometrists and ophthalmologists is that
ophthalmologists are trained to treat systemic disease and perform surgeries
to treat pathology. But even "surgery" lines are shifting. ODs can remove
foreign bodies. In OK they can use laser for some procedures, but not
retinal treatment. They cannot take out a cataract or remove an appendix -
but the ophthalmologist could. I don't know of any who would do an
appendectomy, but they could . . . But an optometrist can take excellent
care of your eyes. If you concern is just new glasses - an optometrist
(again generally) is the doc of choice. The have much more training in
binocular functions, refractions to get the glasses prescription and clinical
optics than the MDs have. If you see an MD, your glasses prescription will
be largely determined by the technician who gets you ready for the MD.
Again, this is not always the case, some MDs will refract you themselves.
But not often. The one big exception is in strabismus. These
ophthalmolgists who specialize in eye turns are pretty darn good with
glasses. But they are surgeons and will want to cut to reposition the
muscles and straighten the eyes.
My background to provide this viewpoint: I have worked with optometrists for
about 10 years and for the last 3 have worked with ophthalmologists as a tech
nician. Respect the doctor, regardless of the initials behind the name.
They will take great care of you.
Andy Winters, ABOM, COA, COMT-OTS
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