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  Eye Doctor / Ophthamologist  
 
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An optometrist (OD) examines eyes for both vision and health problems, prescribes glasses, and fits contact lenses. Optometrists prescribe many ophthalmic medications and may participate in your pre- and postoperative care if you have eye surgery. An optometrist must complete four years of post-graduate optometry school.

An ophthalmologist (MD) is a medical doctor who specializes in the eye. They perform eye exams, treat disease, prescribe medication, and perform surgery. They may also write prescriptions for eyeglasses and contact lenses.

An optician is not a doctor, but in some states they must complete training and be licensed. And in some states they can become certified, after special training, to fit contact lenses. Most opticians sell and fit eyeglasses, sunglasses, and specialty eyewear that are made to an optometrist's or ophthalmologist's prescription.

Since the prevention of blindness is so important, any visual changes, problems or eye pain of unknown origin should be investigated by a doctor who specializes in the human eye.
 

 
 

Eye Doctor / Ophthamologist can help with the following:
 
 
Aging  Cataracts / Risk

Genetic

  Ehlers Danlos Syndrome
 People with EDS should have regular eye exams. Nearsightedness (myopia) is a common condition and can be corrected with prescription glasses or contact lenses. People with one particular form of EDS (EDS VI) are particularly at risk for serious eye conditions and should consult a doctor with experience treating EDS.

Organ Health

  Glaucoma/Risk

Risks

  Increased Risk of Alzheimer's / Dementia
 2010 (London, England)—A simple and inexpensive eye test could aid detection and diagnosis of major neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's at an earlier stage than is currently possible, according to new research by UCL (University College London) scientists.

The research, led by Professors Francesca Cordeiro & Stephen Moss and published today in Cell Death & Disease, demonstrates a new technique that enables retinal, and therefore brain cell death, to be directly measured in real time. The method, demonstrated in an animal model, could not only refine diagnosis of neurodegenerative disorders and help track disease progress; it could also aid the assessment and development of new treatments. (Photo by Rick Furber)

The technique uses fluorescent markers that attach themselves to the relevant cells and indicate the stage of cell death. The retina is then observed using a customized laser ophthalmoscope. Until now, this kind of technique has only been used in cells in the lab, rather than in live animals. This research is therefore the first ever in vivo demonstration of retinal nerve cell death in Alzheimer's Disease.

Professor Cordeiro, UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, said: "The death of nerve cells is the key event in all neurodegenerative disorders—but until now it has not been possible to study cell death in real time. This technique means we should be able to directly observe retinal nerve cell death in patients, which has a number of advantages in terms of effective diagnosis. This could be critically important since identification of the early stages could lead to successful reversal of the disease progression with treatment.

"Currently, the biggest obstacle to research into new treatments for neurodegenerative diseases is the lack of a technique where the brain's response to new treatments can be directly assessed—this technique could potentially help overcome that."

Although this paper outlines the technique in animal models (rats and mice), Professor Cordeiro's team are further along with work using the same technique to detect and assess glaucoma, and will be conducting their first patient trials later this year.

She added: "The equipment used for this research was customized to suit animal models but is essentially the same as is used in hospitals and clinics worldwide. It is also inexpensive and non-invasive, which makes us fairly confident that we can progress quickly to its use in patients.

"Few people realise that the retina is a direct, albeit thin, extension of the brain. It is entirely possible that in the future a visit to a high-street optician to check on your eyesight will also be a check on the state of your brain."

A report in the London Daily Telegraph also quoted Dr. Cordeiro as saying: "If you catch Alzheimer's Disease early enough you can slow it down and even reinvigorate the cells."
 
 


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