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Q: What do optometrists do?

Posted August 07, 2013 in Advice Column, West Des Moines

A: Most people know that optometrists provide routine vision exams that can provide you with spectacles or contact lenses to suit your visual needs. But did you know that your optometrist can also provide medical eye care and diagnose and treat eye disease?

Pink eye. An optometrist can diagnose the problem and, if necessary, prescribe medication to treat the infection. It can even be billed to your medical insurance, just as your family physician would do.

Allergies. Just like pink eye, optometrists can prescribe eye drops to help treat your ocular allergy symptoms if you suffer from seasonal allergies.

Dry eye. Optometrists are trained to detect and develop a treatment plan to treat your dry eye disease.

Diabetes. Diabetics should have yearly eye examinations to make sure there are no complications developing inside the eyes. Optometrists can look for any diabetic retinopathy and send a summary report of the findings to your family practitioner.

Glaucoma, cataracts, floaters, etc. All of these eye conditions and many others can be managed by your optometrist.

Foreign body. An optometrist can also remove foreign material like wood chips, metal or other debris from your corneal surface.

If it is a problem involving your eyes, remember to think of your local eye doctor. Heading to your optometrist’s office can save you a trip to the emergency room or your primary care physician’s office.

Information provided by Dr. Lisa Lansink, One Hour Optical, 4100 University Ave., West Des Moines, 224-1317.

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