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You may have received a referral from your optometrist to an ophthalmologist. Your optometrist examined your eyes and thought you would be a good candidate for laser eye surgery. Now your ophthalmologist tells you he needs to do a comprehensive eye exam to treat your eyes. Why? Shouldn't the first exam tell him everything he needs to know?
While clinical ophthalmology looks at the exam results provided by your optometrist, your ophthalmologist has more specialized equipment and will perform more detailed tests to get an accurate picture of your visual acuity and your vision abberations. Your ophthalmologist is a medical doctor and the chief expert of your eye care team.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology Web site recommends that your ophthalmologist perform certain tests to improve your surgery results, such as:
* slit-lamp tests, to look into the back of the eye for retinal problems, possibly with fluorescein staining to detect whether you need LASIK or PRK
* measuring corneas to reduce the risk of buttonhole flaps
* a refractor to determine your eye prescription
* a tonometer to measure intraocular or inside-the-eye pressure — a too-high reading may be an early symptom of glaucoma
* tests for dry-eyes so your ophthalmologist can treat and cure before you have laser surgery
This isn't a comprehensive list of the ophthalmology eye exam, which goes into greater depth than the optometrist's exam if you are considering surgery.
Optometrists provide routine eye exams to detect common vision problems, also to determine color and depth perception, while ophthalmologists detect and treat vision problems with surgery or implants. Make no mistake, both are vital to your eye care team before, during and after surgery.