Frequently Asked Questions
What is an Optometrist?
Optometrists are your primary care eye doctors. Doctors of optometry are trained to provide the best standards of comprehensive eye care, ranging from an assessment and review of overall eye health and visual functions, to yielding a prescription for eyeglasses or referring for secondary treatment by an ophthalmologist with surgery or drugs. Optometrists are your frontline care providers in eye health.
What is an Ophthalmologist?
Ophthalmologists are medical doctors who have completed specialized residency training in the study, diagnosis, and treatment of eye diseases. They are secondary-level health care providers and they usually use drugs and/or surgery for treatment. A person that requires ophthalmological care (cataract surgery, for example) would usually require a referral from the optometrist or family doctor.
What is an Optician?
Opticians are trained through a college program to fabricate and fit vision aids on the prescription of an optometrist or physician. Opticians are licensed to provide spectacles, and they may also dispense contact lenses and other optical aids. They do not assess, diagnose, or treat eye conditions, nor do they write out prescriptions for eyeglasses of contact lenses.
I see 20/20 and don’t need glasses. So are my eyes healthy?
Yes and no. 20/20 is simply a measurement of how sharp your straight ahead vision can see. So if you can see 20/20, that’s great but that isn’t the whole story. There are lots of people out there with undiagnosed and asymptommatic ocular disease even though they can see 20/20. Glaucoma for instance is an often slow growing disease that robs an individual of their peripheral vision and by the time it becomes noticeable, it is too late.
How can my eyes be dry if they water?
The tear coating on the eye is actually made up of 3 different layers…an oily layer, a watery layer and a mucin layer. The outer most layer (the oily layer) is actually like a bottlecap…it keeps the other two layers on the eye from evaporating. If the oily layer dries up or there is not enough of it (effectively dry eye), then the other two layers spill out. Dry eye can be a cause of watery eye.
How can diabetes affect the eye?
Diabetes can cause varying prescription changes potentially on a daily basis due to varying sugar levels altering how the lens focusses light onto the retina. As well, diabetes weakens existing blood vessels which can rupture and can cause bleeding in the back of the eye with the possibility of permanent blindness. Even if you have controlled diabetes, it is important to have your eyes checked as signs can be asymptomatic.