Opticians, optometrists, and ophthalmologists play important yet distinct roles in the field of eye care.
An ophthalmologist treats a wide variety of eye diseases and conditions in order to preserve your eye health and improve your vision. Surgeries ophthalmologists perform include cataract surgery, lens replacement, transplant, glaucoma treatments, LASIK procedures, and more.
South Florida Vision Associates ophthalmologists specialize in diagnosing and managing eye disorders and diseases. Ophthalmologists have more medical training and education than optometrists, enabling them to treat all kinds of vision problems and eye health conditions, as well as perform eye surgery.
Because many common eye diseases have NO noticeable symptoms early on, regular annual eye exams are important to monitor your eye health. If you optometrist sees potential signs of disease, you will be referred to an ophthalmologist.
The following are signs of eye disease. If you have any of these, call a South Florida Vision Associates ophthalmology office near you for more information. In some cases, you may be advised to seek emergency medical attention.
- Bulging eyes
- Dark curtain or veil that blocks your vision
- Decreased vision, even if temporary
- Distorted vision
- Double vision
- Excessive tearing
- Eyelid abnormalities
- Floaters (black "strings" or specks in the vision) and/or flashes of light
- Halos (colored circles around lights)
- Injury to the eye
- Loss of peripheral (side) vision
- Misaligned eyes
- Pain in the eye
- Unusual red eye
FAQs: Ophthalmology Conditions & Treatments
A cataract is when the normally clear lens of your eye gradually becomes more and more cloudy. It is a sign of aging, and it is estimated that half of all adults 80 and up have cataracts.
Certain medical conditions (e.g., diabetes) and medications (e.g., steroids, drugs used to treat bipolar disorder and schizophrenia) may make you more likely to develop cataracts. Sun exposure, cigarette smoking, heavy alcohol use, and a family history of cataracts are additional risk factors for cataracts.
An ophthalmologist can diagnose and treat cataracts.
Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in adults age 60 and older. The most common type of glaucoma occurs as the result of high fluid pressure in the eye, which then damages the optic nerve.
There are usually no warning signs or symptoms of glaucoma – and any resulting vision loss before treatment is begun cannot be recovered. This is why most routine eye exams include testing that looks for early signs of glaucoma.
Macular degeneration is an eye disease that causes blurred vision in the center of your field of sight. It is a common disorder in adults over the age of 50. It occurs when a part of your retina, called the macula, becomes damaged over time. Early detection of macular degeneration can help postpone vision loss.
Laser-assisted cataract surgery improves the accuracy of the surgical incision because a computer-guided laser is simply more precise than any human hand could be. As a result, recovery after a laser-assisted cataract surgery is usually easier and faster.
FAQs: What to Expect at South Florida Vision Associates
You will NOT have surgery the same day as your first appointment with us.
After you have seen one of our ophthalmologists, your surgery will be scheduled for a mutually convenient day and time. When it is scheduled will depend on the eye issue you have.
To help make your time with us as streamlined and pleasant as possible, please be sure to bring the following with you to your appointment:
- Completed new patient forms – if you were not sent these prior to your appointment, please plan to arrive 15 minutes early to complete the forms at our office (if you are a new client)
- Health insurance cards and a photo ID
- Co-pay or deductible you are responsible for paying
- List of all medications you are currently taking, including dosages and frequency
- The dates of previous eye or other surgeries
- Your family history of eye problems
- Your allergy history, if any
- Current eyeglasses and the prescription for contact lenses (if you wear contacts)
- Relevant medical records from other providers
- Someone to drive you home, if your appointment is an initial evaluation or for a problem with your retina, because dilating drops used during the examination will temporarily blur your vision
- Sunglasses for afterward, because dilation will make your eyes sensitive to light for a few hours; we also have disposable sunglasses we can provide you
Yes. For those who wear soft or disposable contact lenses, please remove them for at least 24 hours prior to your appointment with us. For those who wear hard contacts, please stop wearing them for 2 weeks prior to your appointment with us.
A typical appointment with us can take a total of 1 to 2 hours. This includes intake processing as well as any testing or preparation needed before you see the doctor, which often includes dilating your eyes. You will be asked to wait 15 to 30 minutes while your eyes dilate before you see the doctor.
Your eyes usually remain dilated for 3 to 4 hours. During this time, your eyes will be extremely sensitive to light and your near vision may be blurry.
You should bring someone who can drive you home after your exam. Most of the time, dilation effects your ability to see close-up objects. Wearing sunglasses after dilation is helpful.
For your convenience, most South Florida Vision Associates cataract procedures are performed on premise in our state-of-the-art ambulatory surgery center. By owning and operating our very own outpatient surgery center, we have the luxury of controlling the environment from the minute a patient enters the facility to when they leave.