If you’ve ever been to an all-encompassing eye care practice, you’ve probably been introduced to several different kinds of eye care practitioners – ophthalmologists, optometrists, opticians. But what exactly does each of these do, and how can they help improve your vision?
- Ophthalmologists – Ophthalmologists are medical doctors who are trained to fully care for your eyes. This includes giving eye exams to patients, performing surgery, prescribing corrective lenses and diagnosing/treating eye diseases. Ophthalmologists must complete four years of pre-medical undergraduate work, four years of medical school, one year as an intern, and at least three years of specialized training in surgical eye care. Only ophthalmologists are licensed to perform surgery. You can recognize an ophthalmologist by his or her title, which is either MD (medical doctor) or DO (doctors of osteopathy).
- Optometrists– Optometrists offer many of the same eye care services as an ophthalmologist, but they do not have a medical degree. Optometrists are required to have a degree from a four-year accredited college of optometry and are trained to diagnose eye disorders and conditions such as glaucoma and cataracts. They can also prescribe corrective lenses and medications to treat existing problems with the eye. In general practice, optometrists perform eye exams and recognize vision deficiencies like nearsightedness and farsightedness. For more complex issues or for surgery, you will be referred to an ophthalmologist.
- Opticians– Opticians assist both ophthalmologists and optometrists in the care of a person’s vision. They have earned a two-year technical degree and help care for patients during an eye exam. Opticians assist eye patients in ordering prescriptions, determining the best lenses for a person’s eyes, and repairing or adjusting contacts and frames. Opticians are not considered to be doctors.
Each of these eye care professionals plays a part in making sure your vision care is as complete as possible. It’s recommended that you visit an eye doctor at least once a year for an exam. Make sure you check your True Dental Discounts benefit plan and schedule an appointment today with a participating practitioner to receive significant savings.
Sight is arguably one of our most vital senses. As such, if your vision has been a little blurry lately or if you’re due for your regular eye exam, you may be rightly concerned about making sure you’re going to the best eye doctor available. Not all doctors are the same, so keep these tips from the Cleveland Clinic in mind when choosing the person you want to trust with your vision.
- Look for experience: Ophthalmologists and optometrists who have years of experience under their belt are more likely to be able to detect problems or diseases in your eyes. This could mean earlier detection of cataracts or more precise evaluations of your overall vision. Plus, many veteran eye doctors are involved in medical research and studies, which means they may be more up to date on the latest procedures and treatments.
- Research qualifications: Does your eye doctor have certificates or licenses prominently displayed in his or her office? Make sure when you’re searching for an eye doctor that you ask about that individual’s qualifications and degrees. Ophthalmologists and optometrists should be certified through an accredited medical school and be licensed to practice in your state. Taking the extra time to evaluate a potential doctor’s education and certification could bring you extra peace of mind at your next office visit.
- Check out types of services offered: Depending on your personal vision needs, you may want to choose an eye doctor who either offers a wide range of services or who specializes in a few different areas. If you have trouble with glaucoma or cataracts, for instance, you may want to visit an eye doctor who specializes in the treatment of those diseases. For general vision care, a doctor who can provide several different services may be your best bet. But as long as your own eye care needs are being met, the type of doctor you choose is up to you.
- Listen to the recommendations of other patients: Before committing to an eye doctor, ask your friends, family or colleagues which practitioner they would suggest you see. Praise from former or current patients is one of the best ways of measuring the ability and skills of a potential doctor. Find out from others if the doctor is personable, respectful, passionate, timely, etcetera. This will help guarantee a pleasant experience at your next appointment.
- Look for an eye doctor on your vision plan: To receive the most savings possible, be sure to choose a participating eye doctor who meets all of your vision needs. What could be better than excellent sight at excellent prices?
Call us at 1-800-747-6190 or visit www.truedentaldiscounts.com to find out about the extensive vision benefits offered through True Dental Discounts and start seeing more clearly today.
Whether you’re tired of losing your glasses or you’re just ready for a new look, contacts can be a great alternative to traditional frames. In fact, contacts offer several advantages that glasses can’t come close to matching. According to the American Optometric Association, one of these benefits is that contact wearers experience a less inhibited field of vision. Unlike bulky frames, contacts do not block your view, and they move with your eye, which reduces the amount of distortions. Another benefit is that contacts do not fall off or prevent a person from participating in physical activities. They also do not fog up or get streaked by rainfall. Perhaps most importantly, many people feel more confident or attractive without glasses. This may be an especially deciding factor if you have a teenager considering contacts.
T here are a few things to consider before making the switch to contacts, though. First, contacts are often more time consuming than glasses. They require more supervision, longer examinations, and more attention to their well-being. Unlike glasses, contacts can tear, and they require time to be inserted into the eye. Yet, if you can make a commitment to the time it takes to successfully wear contacts, most eye professionals agree that contacts can be an excellent investment. In fact, the American Optometric Association suggests that contacts offer better overall vision quality than glasses, which means you’re one step closer to seeing more clearly. Talk to your eye doctor about how you can use your vision plan to order affordable contact lenses today.
Despite common perceptions, dentures do experience normal wear and tear and eventually need to be replaced. In cases where the teeth are beginning to show signs of considerable wear or are becoming loose, your discount dental plan dentist will make brand new dentures to fit the changing structure of your mouth. According to the American Dental Association, a person’s mouth naturally changes with age. For instance, bone and gum ridges can recede, which in turn shifts the jaw alignment.
All of these changes can result in loose dentures that need to be remade. In cases where people ignore their ill-fitting dentures, they may experience sores or infections and have difficulty chewing. The American Dental Association suggests that loose dentures may even change people’s facial features, so it is important to talk to your dentist if you notice any loosening of your dentures. Experts recommend that people with dentures still see the dentist regularly for exactly that purpose. Check-up visits allow the dentist to take note of any changes in the dentures and check the mouth for signs of oral cancer.
It is common knowledge that too many sweets can lead to tooth decay, but research points to another food group that parents should watch out for: starches. Starch can be found in a wide variety of foods – even so-called “healthy” ones like crackers, bread, pasta and pretzels. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry suggests checking food labels for the presence of sugars and starches and then limiting those foods to mealtimes instead of as a snack. When consumed with other foods and drinks, sugars and starches are more easily washed away and removed from around a child’s teeth.
For the same reason, sticky-sweet foods like dried fruit are more likely to damage your child’s teeth because they often get stuck in the crevices. One common trap that many parents fall into is giving their child access to sugar-laden condiments, like many kinds of ketchup and salad dressings. These types of foods are not always associated with being sweet, but they often have lots of added sugar and can cause problems for kids who like to dip everything from chicken nuggets to apples. Finally, for very young children, experts recommend never putting them to bed with any liquid other than water. Juices and even milk are full of sugars that can sit on your child’s teeth while they’re sleeping and produce cavity-causing bacteria. To be safe, ask your True Dental Discounts, pediatric dentist for her input on your children’s diet. She can recommend healthy foods that are good for their bodies and their teeth.
Although it is always best for your hearing to avoid dangerously loud environments, many people are simply not able to escape these situations, particularly in a work setting. In these cases, experts recommend one of two hearing protection options: earmuffs or earplugs. Both of these devices work by lowering the intensity of sound before it reaches a person’s ear drum, but earmuffs are worn outside the ear while earplugs are inserted directly into the outer ear canal. According to the American Hearing Research Foundation, earplugs are only effective when they form a completely air-tight seal in the ear canal. To make sure the canal is sealed, earplugs come in many sizes and shapes.
They can also be custom made by an audiologist on your True Dental Discounts hearing plan if you have difficulty finding properly fitting plugs. In addition, some people wear special headbands with earplugs attached in order to make sure they do not fall out of their ear while working in a loud environment. The foundation does not recommend substituting cotton balls for earplugs because make-shift plugs typically only work about half to one-fourth as well as a properly fitting earplug.
However, people who prefer not to wear earplugs can find a good alternative in earmuffs. Earmuffs form an air-tight seal around the outside of the ear and are worn on a headband. People who choose to wear earmuffs should be careful not to wear them while wearing eyeglasses or long hair, both of which will cause the muffs to seal improperly.
The headband must also be adjusted to a length that allows the muffs to fit snugly around the ear so no loose space exists to let sound in. If all of these conditions are met, the foundation suggests that people who wear earmuffs or earplugs can reduce their nose exposure by 15 to 30 decibels. That’s like the difference between a rock concert and a movie! The two methods can also be combined, and people who wear earmuffs in addition to earplugs can often increase their protection by another 10 to 15 decibels. If you can only choose one, many experts agree that earplugs are more effective at reducing low-frequency noise, while earmuffs are better at reducing high-frequency noise. When in doubt, always ask your True Dental Discounts audiologist. An audiologist can help identify any emerging damage and show you how to preserve your hearing for years to come.
Glaucoma is a serious condition that causes pressure to build up in the eye, potentially damaging the optic nerve and threatening a person’s vision. For patients with open-angle glaucoma, this pressure builds when the clear liquid in the eye does not drain properly. One solution many patients have turned to is laser trabeculoplasty, a brief, in-office surgery that relieves intraocular pressure by stimulating the eye’s drainage system. According to the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the laser makes tiny, evenly spaced burns in the eye’s “trabecular meshwork,” which is responsible for draining the liquid out of the eye.
This laser procedure helps rid the eye of extra liquid, thereby relieving the pressure a patient is experiencing. In most cases, laser trabeculoplasty is done in directly in an ophthalmologist’s office with an eye-drop anesthetic and can be completed in just 10 minutes. The Academy has found very few risks to the surgery and, in fact, has discovered that laser trabeculoplasty is effective 75 percent of the time. However, surgery is not always a permanent solution, so talk to an ophthalmologist on your vision plan for more information. He or she will determine if you are a good candidate for this procedure and show you how you, too, can overcome the diverse challenges of glaucoma.