What does an optometrist do?

A question that has been popping up a lot more recently due to the more informed public this age. Well fret not, in this post I’m going to talk about how can an optometrist help you.

Who is an optometrist?

An optometrist is a health care professional that are trained to handle ocular diseases and binocular anomalies on top of what the optician does which is refraction, lens edging and dispensing. We are also trained in specialty lens fittings such as rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses, Rose-K and Ortho-K lenses.

What do they do?

In short, we are the primary care practitioners who are responsible to detect and solve problems with the eyes with ophthalmic lenses and contact lenses. We will then referr to ophthalmologists on an indication of a disease that may need medical intervention.

What should you look for from an optometrist?

We are trained in many different refraction techniques to deal with different types of eyes. This is to ensure that we get an accurate refraction results every time. In our kit, we have a Retinoscope and an Opthalmoscope.

The retinoscope is a tool that we use to determine the person’s power. Although these days we prefer to use an autorefractor which is the scanner that scans your power before we bring the you into the refraction room due to its speed, but when there is an indication to use it, such as when we notice that the astigmatism is too high, with the scope we can actually determine if the person would have keratoconus. In some more serious cases of cataracts, we can detect using the retinoscope as well.

The opthalmoscope is basically a magnifying glass to look in to the eye to check the retina. Usually the optometrist would turn off the lights and tell you to look at a specific direction. After that we would get close with the opthalmoscope to check the clarity of the ocular media. At this point we are able to determine if a person has cataract or not.

Then, we focus on the retina. The things that we would check for would be the ratio between the blood vessels, hemorrhages, leakages and also the optic nerve head. With that, we can determine if the person’s blood pressure and blood glucose level are at normal level, and the possibility of getting glaucoma. If you’re having pink eye, we would use a slit lamp, which is a microscope, to check the surface of your eye and the inner eye, to determine the cause of the red eye. Note that cause of a red eye could be bacterial infections, viral infections, allergies and foreign objects.

What about the kids?

Kids under the age of 6 are also more than welcome to be screened for lazy eye. Lazy eye could result in permanent loss of visual if it is left unattended. Therefore, it is prudent for us to check for the signs and symptoms before it is too late. We can also manage kids with squint eyes (mata sepet), with specialty prism lenses so that they don’t later develop lazy eyes as well. In some cases, prescribe in office training to help training kids’ eye muscles so that they’re aligned and look normal again. With all the technicalities aside, optometrists can also deduce the condition of your eyes through questions. In our book, there is a word of advice: 70% of the time, the patient would tell you their diagnosis. Its just that the patients are not aware of their conditions, so we are also there to inform and educate.

When should you see one?

Whenever you feel like your vision is not as good as it should be, eyestrains, headaches after long hours of work, persistent itching in the eyes, mucus discharge in the eyes, the list goes on. In a nutshell, optometrists possess the skills and knowledge to help you with more than just your vision but also your health. Book an eye check with optometrist today!