Ophthalmologist VS Retina Specialist: Finding the Right Eye Care Professional
When it’s time to get your eyes checked, finding the right eye care professional for your individual needs is important, but it can also be overwhelming. How do you know which type of provider is right for you? Ophthalmologists differ from optometrists and opticians, and there are subspecialists for specific eye conditions. Each provider has different levels of training and expertise and each play a role in maintaining your eye health.
What’s the difference between an ophthalmologist and a retina specialist?
What is an Ophthalmologist?
An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor that specializes in eye and vision care. They must complete a four-year undergraduate program, followed by a four-year medical school and a four-year postgraduate residency training program. They are licensed to practice medicine and eye surgery, and are trained in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of a variety of eye diseases. Ophthalmologists are often considered to be on the front line of vision health, and perform many services, including:
- eye exams
- vision evaluations
- eyeglass and contact lens prescriptions
- eye surgery
- vision therapy
Ophthalmologists can complete additional training, called a fellowship, in subspecialty areas such as retina, glaucoma, cornea, pediatrics, neurology, oculo-plastic surgery and others.
What is a Retina Specialist?
A retina specialist is an ophthalmologist who has undergone additional, intensive training to specialize in diseases and conditions related to the vitreous and retina in both adults and children. Most patients are referred to retina specialists after a comprehensive eye exam by an optometrist or ophthalmologist. Retina specialists use advanced equipment and testing to diagnose retinal conditions and perform a variety of surgical and non-surgical treatment options including eye injections and retinal surgery. It is important to note that there are different types of retina specialists, some medical only, and some trained in both medical and surgical retina. Luckily at Austin Retina, all of our doctors have specialty training from world renowned institutions in both medical and surgical retina.
The retina is susceptible to numerous serious conditions and injury, including:
- Retinal tear and detachment
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Age-related macular degeneration
- Diabetic eye disease
- Choroidal melanoma
- Macular hole
- Retinal vein occlusion
- Epiretinal membrane (macular puckers)
- Retinopathy of prematurity
At Austin Retina, we use leading-edge diagnostic equipment, state-of-the-art surgical procedures, and personalized care to ensure your retinal and overall health is taken care of.
If you think you may be at risk for a retinal condition or if you are in need of treatment, contact the expert retina specialists at Austin Retina Associates by calling us at 800-252-8259 or request an appointment online.