What is ophthalmology?


Ophthalmology is defined as the part of medical science dealing with functions, anatomy and diseases of the eye. Ophthalmologists are medical doctors who specialize in vision, medical and surgical services regarding the eye. Ophthalmologists treat vision problems such as glaucoma, iritis, cataracts, crossed eyes, chemical burns, trauma, drooping eyelids, diabetic glaucoma and other diseases, according to WebMD.

Ophthalmology differs from optometry in that optometrists specialize in vision care and general eye care. Optometrists concern themselves with prescribing eyeglasses to correct vision problems, according to WebMD. Ophthalmologists graduate from medical school and spend a few years in residency before becoming an eye doctor. Ophthalmology can be seen as everything to do with the eye, not just correcting vision and preventing eye disorders.

Specialists in ophthalmology are licensed by state medical boards and receive extensive training. An ophthalmologist can diagnose, treat and manage all eye and visual systems, says Harvard University's "Digital Journal of Ophthalmology." These doctors deliver primary, secondary and tertiary eye care to patients. Another specialty of ophthalmology revolves around treating eye problems that occur because of other diseases such as arthritis and diabetes.

The field of ophthalmology includes plastic and reconstructive surgery. Such procedures include smoothing wrinkles and correcting drooping eyelids, states WebMD.

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