Why Choose an Optometrist who Specializes in Contacts vs Ophthalmologists
You need new contact lenses or maybe you’re just trying them out for the first time. How do you know who to turn to for the best advice and the right fit?
At Specialty Lens and Keratoconus Center at Vision Professionals, we specialize in contact lenses, especially for patients who may have difficulty wearing them due to eye disease, high refractive errors, misshapen corneas, and more.
Differences In Eyecare Professionals
Before knowing where to turn, it’s important to understand the difference in eye care professionals.
What Is An Ophthalmologist?
An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who is licensed to practice medicine and perform vision-related surgical procedures. They receive years of advanced medical training to diagnose eye diseases and provide treatments, conduct scientific research on vision disorders, and prescribe medications for their patients.
Ophthalmologists could fit patients with eyeglasses and contacts, but often they refer to an optometrist on their team to correct patients’ refractive errors, such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), astigmatism, or presbyopia (farsightedness due to aging). Often, optometrists are the ones who screen patients for LASIK candidacy and will work alongside LASIK surgeons to coordinate the surgery.
What Is An Optometrist?
An optometrist is a healthcare professional who is licensed to provide vision care. This typically involves eye exams, vision tests, and diagnoses of eye diseases and conditions. Optometrists specialize in fitting patients with glasses or contacts for common refractive errors, while ophthalmologists focus on their areas of expertise
Why Choose An Optometrist?
While an ophthalmologist is ideal for the treatment of severe eye diseases, vision disorders, and eye surgery, an optometrist is ideal for contact lenses. That’s because general vision care is the primary service that they offer their patients.
Think of your optometrist like a primary care physician for your eyes. When you need an eye checkup, if you notice your vision changing, or if your child isn’t seeing the board clearly in school, that’s when you visit the optometrist.
Getting The Right Fit
Contact lens fittings are one of the most common eye care-related services. In fact, the CDC (The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) estimates that 45 million Americans wear contact lenses, which means there are a lot of people getting fitted for contacts.
Whether you’re a first-time lens wearer or you’ve recently had a prescription change, it’s essential to ensure proper fit. Improper fitted lenses are not only uncomfortable, they can lead to vision problems, infections, or scarring. That’s where we come in.
First, Dr. Smiley, Dr. Menner, and Dr. Cashon will perform a detailed eye exam to check your level of refractive error, and if you’re an existing patient, to see if your prescription has changed. The doctor will also check for any conditions that could interfere with contact lenses. The shape of your eye and personal lifestyle are also important factors. So if you spend more time outdoors or in more active environments, that may require a different lens type. The doctor will ensure the best fit for your eye and overall visual health.
Your optometrist will teach you how to put the lenses in and take them out, how to properly clean and store them, and other general care tips. Additional follow-up may be needed as we monitor the condition of your lenses and your prescription needs.
Can My Child Wear Contacts?
Children can wear contact lenses, depending on their age and level of responsibility. Contacts may be a good solution for kids with vision problems, especially among the teen and tween set who tend to be more concerned over their appearance. Contacts are generally recommended for kids between the ages of 11-14, but it’s always recommended to speak with your eye doctor for any specific questions.
Let us know how we can help with your contact lens wear. Contact Specialty Lens and Keratoconus Center at Vision Professionals for a consultation today.