Recently I went with one of my dearest friends as she took her 6 year old to the optometrist who also specialized in Vision therapy. Another dear friend referred her to this optometrist . I'm interested in the subject immensely of course, so she allowed me to go along.
If I hadn't been through so much with my own eyes, I would have never batted an eye at this subject. This optometrist was excellent....But I knew... She is still not a medical doctor.
The optometrist was very kind and very seemingly very smart.
The clinic had all sorts of high tech equipment.
We were in a smaller town in central MN. I am used to going to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester and this little clinic had equipment that appeared to be of higher tech than the revered Mayo...
This appointment was very important as my little friend Lane, seems to be struggling to learn sometimes in school. We wanted to make sure his eyes were not contributing to his struggles. Turns out, yes! He needs a new prescription. He favors one eye affecting his depth perception etc. but as I looked at the perscription I found it odd that the child needed equal prisms in each eye and now bifocals at age 6. I was a little worried about how hard it might be for a child to adjust to bifocals when it is sometimes quite difficult for adults to adjust to them. I was worried he'd be just frustrated and take the glasses off altogether.
Optometrist, as I understand it, have not gone to medical school. They go to four years of optometry school.
Ophthalmologist, have gone to 8 years of medical school. And some have gone on to 2-3 years of subspecialty training.
Optometrist, specialize in eye exams, vision changes, managing already diagnosed eye issues and they can refer you to an ophthalmologist.
Ophthalmologist, specialize in comprehensive eye health, they can see the 'larger picture' of overall health, in regards to cause and effect and treatment options of various issues. After an issue has been diagnosed, and optometrist can be quite capable of monitoring a condition.
I like to think of it as the optometrist is the ophthalmologist right hand man in caring for patients.
Apparently, this is a hotly debated item in eye world, especially in the USA.
As far as the fancy equipment.... well, come to find out. Sometimes the best equipment is the doctors knowledge. Sometimes simply doing something like dilating the eye is much more accurate than snapping a picture of the back of the eye. Although, I'd like to add the machine is more comfortable. That being said. Nothing can out shine the human brain.
We followed up with a second opinion to the local Pediatric Ophthalmologist specializing in Strabismsus in our own town to learn that Lane's eyes were actually good! Very Good. He had better convergence than most his age. He just had a small stigmatism . He did not need vision therapy and really could see good with out his glasses. When all was said and done. Lane's eyes were not the cause of his class room issues. It was more behavioral. Can you imagine if we had gone down the road of prisms and bifocals?
Turns out Lane's mom had a hunch his eyes were working fine together ( converging well) He is excellent at sports. Never misses a ball. So how could his depth perception be that far off?
In this case the Optometrist was way far off. We're so glad we got a second opinion before proceeding to put Lane through even greater frustration with learning.
Please take the time to read the link noted here.
It makes a difference. If you get well intended, but incorrect eye care, especially at 6 years old. It will affect your whole life.
Do your home work... See the right Doctor at the right time! If you're 6, it could mean your future.