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Ophthalmology at Summit Health diagnoses and treats diseases of the eye in people of all ages.

During an eye examination, your ophthalmologist will check for ophthalmology diseases such as glaucoma (increased pressure in the eye that leads to vision loss), macular degeneration (deterioration of the retina), and cataracts (clouding of the lens).

Eye Exam Guidelines

The American Academy of Ophthalmology notes that, by age 65, one in three Americans will have a vision-impairing eye disease. Signs of these diseases can begin in midlife, but people often have no symptoms. The earlier these diseases are found and treated, the better the chances of preserving good vision.

An eye exam involves a series of tests to evaluate your vision and check for eye diseases. Unless a problem is identified and more frequent visits are advised, below is a quick breakdown of recommendations for frequency of eye exams by age group: 

Age

Eye Exam Frequency

6 months to 20 years

Pediatricians should screen children regularly at wellness appointments and refer them to ophthalmology for any abnormalities.

In your 20’s

One visit

In your 30’s

One visit every five years

At age 40

One visit (comprehensive exam)

Between 40 and 65

One visit every two years

Age 65 and older

One visit annually

While the above guidelines are for those who have “excellent vision”, the frequency of ophthalmology examinations should also be determined by personal health and family history. Individuals with certain risk factors like diabetes or hypertension should have annual eye exams regardless of age.

Our Eye Care Specialists

Our eye care specialists are uniquely qualified to treat many common and uncommon eye conditions and diseases.

Ophthalmologist or Optometrist: Who Should I See?

Though both ophthalmologist and optometrists are eye care specialists who play an important role in the eye health of patients, there are differences between the two.

An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who specializes in eye and vision care. He or she has completed college, eight or more years of additional medical training, including medical school and residence, and is licensed to practice medicine and surgery. An ophthalmologist can diagnose and treat all eye diseases, perform eye surgery, and prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses.

Some ophthalmologists have more in-depth training (fellowship) in a specific area, which allows them to care for more complex conditions of the eye.

Optometrists hold a Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree after completing at least three years of college followed by four years of optometry school. As eye care professionals, they are licensed to perform eye exams and vision tests, prescribe corrective lenses, and diagnose, treat, and manage certain eye conditions and diseases as well as vision changes.

Common Conditions Treated

Glaucoma

Glaucoma, typically associated with elevated eye pressure, is a silent disease that can cause irreversible loss of vision. It is sometimes void of symptoms until visual damage is extensive.

Early detection and treatment of glaucoma is critical in attempting to prevent its progression and preserve existing vision. Your eye care professional can diagnose and treat this vision-threatening disease. 

Cataracts

Cataracts are the most common cause of preventable blindness in the world. They are typically age related, but can also be associated with trauma, diabetes, smoking, and certain medications, among other things. They typically cause a gradual haziness of the vision and can directly interfere with the ability to work, enjoy hobbies, and can pose a safety issue for driving and walking. Cataracts can be diagnosed by your eye care professional and can be surgically addressed to restore vision.

Macular degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in people over the age of 50. There is a higher risk of developing this disease in patients with a family history of macular degeneration, individuals who smoke, and people over the age of 50. There are two types of macular degeneration: dry and wet.

While there is no cure, early detection and monitoring are associated with improved visual prognosis. 

LASIK Surgery

LASIK (laser in situ keratomileusis) is a type of eye surgery performed to reduce nearsightedness and sometimes astigmatism and farsightedness.

During LASIK surgery, the surgeon uses a laser or surgical tool to remove the top layer of the cornea (the epithelium) as a flap. The removal of tissue changes the shape of the cornea so that light rays can focus on or closer to the retina, which can improve your vision. At the end of the procedure, the surgeon replaces the flap of epithelium.

LASIK corrects only focusing problems that also can be corrected with glasses and contact lenses.

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