Ophthalmologist? Optometrist? Retina Specialist? What’s the Difference?
Ophthalmologists are physicians who specialize in medical and surgical eye care. They diagnose and treat all eye diseases. Many ophthalmologists conduct scientific research to improve treatment options and to find cures for eye diseases and vision disorders.
As primary health care providers, optometrists are Doctors of Optometry that have extensive, ongoing training to examine, diagnose, treat and manage ocular disorders, diseases and injuries and ocular manifestations of systemic diseases.
A retina specialist is a physician who specializes in ophthalmology and sub-specializes in diseases and surgery of the vitreous body of the eye and the retina.
How do I pick?
A good way to start is by reaching out to your primary care provider for suggestions and getting recommendations from family or friends. Your insurance carrier will be able to let you know what eye care providers and services are covered.
Why do I need one?
Unfortunately, people living with diabetes are at a higher risk for vision complications.
- Approximately 30% of people with diabetes worldwide have signs of retinopathy, and 1/3 of them have vision threatening retinopathy
- The CDC estimates that 8.6% of people with diabetes in the US have retinopathy—and half of those have experienced vision loss as a result
- People with diabetes are 2 times more likely to develop cataracts—and at a younger age
- Between 4.3 and 7% of people with diabetes may have macular edema
- It is estimated that 20% of reported dry eyes are from people with type 2 diabetes between the ages of 43 and 83 years
But there is good news: an annual routine eye exam could prevent 95% of vision loss caused by diabetes! Be sure to schedule an annual comprehensive eye exam with your eye doctor at least once a year so they can detect any problems early and treat them.