How to Choose an Ophthalmologist?

eyes sight examine

When people think of medical care, they almost never think of eye care but in fact, the vision is the most important perception. Choosing ophthalmologist, finding the difference between ophthalmologist and optometrist, finding what is an optician – all these things are essential, so we will dig deeper into this subject. But first, let’s find out what are different eye specialists and what they can and can’t do.

What does optometrist mean?

Types of eye specialists differ from their degree. Some of them have a Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree, while others have a higher degree. Doctors of Optometry have the ability and education for making a full examination of the vision, prescribe glasses and treat refractive errors. Vision therapy is also something optometrists do. They can prescribe contact lenses also, instead of glasses. Mostly depends on how worse is the vision and what are patient’s preferences. They can prescribe medications, eye drops and other pills.

Although, optometrists can’t do eye surgeries they can take care of you before and after the intervention. Optometrists get the education like other general practitioners – 4 years college education and 4 years professional training. However, not only optometrists but also ophthalmologists need the following education, so they visit seminars, workshops and symposiums while they practice.

What does an ophthalmologist mean?

The short answer is Doctor of osteopathic medicine who is expert in vision. He could do everything that optometrists can do plus more. If you need an eye surgery you should look for an ophthalmologist. Their education is longer with 3 more years in ophthalmology. If you need a regular exam of your eyes, you might choose between ophthalmologist or optometrist. Both of them, have the expertise to do it and prescribe you glasses if needed.

Who is an Optician, then?

Opticians are not medical doctors. They are specialists who don’t have full medical education. They can read special prescriptions and give you proper eyeglasses according to them, but they can’t write you a prescription. Around the world, requirements for opticians are different – with or without training program and licenses.

woman holds eye glasses

What you should have in mind when you are choosing an Ophthalmologist?

Some ophthalmologists in Singapore work as a team with optometrists so depending on your case you might get two specialists instead of one. If you have serious eye disease like glaucoma, for example, better book an appointment for an ophthalmologist. If you already have optometrist then he might prepare your medical history and examinations so you can easily explain what’s going on with your vision. In addition, if you need eye surgery, then your optometrist might work together with an ophthalmologist. Both of them will take care for you.

Have in mind that some insurance plans in Singapore cover eye care while others not. Some ophthalmologists work with insurance, while others not.
Another important thing is that most insurance plans don’t cover routine examinations, but they cover if there is necessary eye care. They don’t cover correcting vision with glasses, but they can partly cover macular degeneration or detachment of the retina. If you need more information, you have to ask your insurance company and your ophthalmologist. Have in mind, you might have to pay the whole tax at first, later the insurance company will give you back a part or the whole amount.

You might get vision care add-on on your already created insurance plan. If you do this, you might get some benefits and free eye exams. Most insurance plans don’t include corrective eye surgery because it is not a necessity but more like cosmetic surgery.

Consider and discuss with your eye specialist what will happen if your exams are worse and you need another specialist with higher expertise. Ask about, specialists your eye doctor works with and how experience they have. In addition, you could ask where they are located.

Paying attention to your vision and knowing exactly where to seek help when you need one is important. Human eyes are a big treasure, and we don’t have to ignore small problems because behind them might hide bigger ones.