What is ophthalmology? Taking care of the eyes is what ophthalmology is primarily about. This is a study that prioritizes the eye’s health and how to address its problems. Read on to know more about this science.

What Is Ophthalmology: Things You Need To Know


What Is Ophthalmology?

Ophthalmology is the study of the eye’s anatomy, genetics, illness, and other disorders. The term ophthalmology originated from the Greek words ophthalmos which means “eye” and logos which means “word.” This literally means the “science of eyes.” People refer to a certified doctor for this science as an ophthalmologist.

Ophthalmology as a Study

An individual takes ophthalmology to become a certified eye surgeon. They will start by attending a medical school that usually takes four years to finish. The medical school will be mostly about lectures for the first two years and further develops to training and rotations for the last two years. After graduating, they undergo a residency training that focuses on ophthalmology. The coursework includes the proper eye surgery such as cataract removal and how to use a laser to treat glaucoma. After this training, there is the fellowship program wherein they delve into the specializations. For example, a certain medical school offers a one year program devoted to the treatment of glaucoma. This helps its medical practitioners to further improve their skills and update their knowledge.

Eye Doctors: Optician, Optometrist, and Ophthalmologist

Eye Doctors: Optician, Optometrist, and Ophthalmologist | What Is Ophthalmology? | Healing The Eye
There are various eye doctors but they have different specializations. Here are some pointers to identify them:

A. Optician

People refer to practitioners licensed to provide the appropriate corrective lenses for its patient as opticians. It may be in the form of eyewear or contact lenses. They analyze the data provided by the specialized medical eye equipment, optometrist or ophthalmologist to provide the right corrective lenses. Opticians cannot diagnose or cure eye illness.

B. Optometrist

Optometrists are eye care professionals who are licensed to diagnose vision problems of their patients. Opticians often get their prescriptions for accurate corrective eyewear. However, they are only limited to remedy the problem through eyeglasses, contact lenses, and eye exercises.

C. Ophthalmologist

Ophthalmologists are medical doctors who are authorized to diagnose and treat eye problems or diseases. Their scope goes beyond providing corrective lenses, they are also permitted to prescribe medicines and perform surgery for eye diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, and cataract.

Common Eye Diseases For Ophthalmology: Glaucoma, Macular Degeneration, and Cataract

Ophthalmologists deal with a lot of complicated eye problems. Here are three of the common complications they encounter:

A. Glaucoma

Glaucoma pertains to the compromised optic nerves. People diagnosed with this disease suffer from having a tunnel vision. Some of its common symptoms are blurred vision, rainbow circles scattered around bright lights, eye pain, headache, and nausea.

B. Macular Degeneration

Macular Degeneration is a serious eye disease. If left untreated, it can cause the individual to go blind. It is categorized into two types: wet and dry. Dry macular degeneration often happens to older people. It is a regressive problem that comes with old age. Wet macular degeneration occurs when blood vessels start to grow under the retina hence damaging the macula. The fluid build-up caused by this results in scarring of the eyes. This can happen to anyone at any age and requires immediate medical attention.

C. Cataract

Cataract is an eye disease wherein an individual’s vision becomes clouded or hazy. Aside from aging as its main cause, ultraviolet rays, diabetes, hypertension, and high myopia have also shown relevant relation to this problem. If it gets severe, ophthalmologists can perform eye surgery to remove the blurred lenses and replace them with clear and plastic intraocular lenses (IOL).

When to Visit an Ophthalmologist

Schedule to visit an ophthalmologist to get a proper diagnosis of the eye’s current health status, especially if there is a growing discomfort in terms of vision. Also, consider getting a diagnostic eye examination after a serious trauma or injury that might have harmed the eyes. Early detection and prior treatment will increase the success of the eye treatment and surgery.


Considering a course in ophthalmology? Find out why Dr. Andrea Tooley chose this course and her experience in this short video:

What Is Ophthalmology? | Healing The Eye

Ophthalmology is a medical study that has been around since 800 BC. In the modern age, it is further advanced by developed and improved equipment to efficiently treat eye diseases. It is good practice to have our eyes’ health monitored and checked regularly as we age to address any complications.

Was this article able to address questions pertaining to ophthalmology? Share your insights in the comments section!

Up next: How To Maintain Healthy Eyes | 9 Useful Tips

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