Optometrists are considered to be the primary doctor for eye care. Optometrists can diagnose such problems as nearsightedness, farsightedness and age-related presbyopia which is a condition all adults face starting in their 40’s and 50’s. Doctors of optometry also play an important role in the health of the ocular system. They can diagnose and often treat such blindness-causing diseases as glaucoma, cataracts, retinal problems, diabetes and high blood pressure.
What most patients request of optometrists is a prescription for either glasses or contact lenses. A large portion of the population is in fact either nearsighted or far sighted, therefore requiring some kind of correction. Other common requests include allergy treatment, foreign bodies in the eyeball, as well as other ocular emergencies. Dr. Hicks has had extensive experience with all medical requests as well as primary vision evaluations.
“Doctors of optometry are independent primary health care providers who specialize in the examination, diagnosis, treatment and management of diseases and disorders of the visual system, the eye, and associated structures as well as the diagnosis of related systemic conditions.” (definition adopted by the American Optometric Association)
Today, doctors of optometry provide vision care to more than 70% of Americans. Conditions typically treated by Doctors of Optometry include:
- diseases and disorders of the eye such as corneal abrasions/ulcers/ infections, glaucoma and the management of other ocular diseases and conditions.
- visual skills problems such as the effective ability to move, align, fixate and focus the ocular mechanism as in reading, driving, computer use, hobbies, etc.
- the inability to properly process and interpret visual information such as in problems of perception, visualization and retention as in the learning task.
- poor vision-body coordination as one interacts with the environment such as in sports, occupations, or just everyday spacial judgments.
- clarity problems, be they simple near or farsightedness or the complications due to the aging process, disease, accidents or malfunction.
Doctors of Optometry also are concerned with the diagnosis, management and referral, when required, of such systemic diseases as hypertension, diabetes and others which are often first detected in the eye. Optometrists are also instrumental in preventive measures for infants and children’s visual development, job/school/hobby related tasks, and nutrition and hygiene education.
Though Doctors of Optometry are trained in all aspects of ocular and visual conditions and most practice Primary care optometry, there are those who choose to emphasize or specialize in:
- Learning Disabilities
- Contact Lenses
- Ocular Disease
- Vision Therapy
- Occupational Vision
- Low Vision
- Sports Vision
- Rehabilitative Vision