Optometrist vs. Ophthalmologist: What’s the Difference?

What’s the Difference? Optometrist vs. Ophthalmologist:

Optometrist vs. Ophthalmologist

Optometrists and ophthalmologists are highly trained specialists who are trained to care for the human eye. However, there are some distinctions between these two types of eye doctors and what they are specifically trained to do. These differences can be highly important when it comes to which type of eye doctor you choose to see based on the needs you have at the time.

In this post, we will explore the differences between an optometrists and ophthalmologists and which option is better for you based on the needs you have at that specific time:

What Do Optometrists Specialize In?

Optometrists do not have to spend as long in school ophthalmologists, however, the schooling still takes 7 to 8 years to complete and the student also must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree to qualify to go to school for this specialty. These doctors can do basic eye examinations and some are able to detect more common abnormalities or issues that you have with your eyes during your routine exam.

A few of these doctors may take an additional one-year specialty that helps them diagnose specific diseases or abnormalities within the eye. However, these doctors tend to specialize in general eye care and are trained to fit both contacts and glasses to people who need vision assistance.

What Do Ophthalmologists Specialize In?

Ophthalmologists specialize in specific disease of the eye. These are physicians who went through 4 years of school and then go on to specialized medical schools to help them distinguish specific conditions of the human eye and how to treat them. To get their ophthalmologist degree, the student must go on past medical school to complete a one-year residency internship in medicine followed by a three-year residency in an ophthalmologist-specific program. 

Ophthalmologists can also fit people for glasses or contacts and do basic eye exams as well. However, they are also able to treat specific conditions of the eye and provide treatment accordingly.

Which Doctor Should I Choose?

When it comes to deciding between an optometrist vs. ophthalmologist, what it comes down to is your personal needs and preferences. Both doctors are well-qualified to provide basic eye examinations and fit you with either contacts or glasses. However, if you have a family history of a lot of eye conditions such as glaucoma or other issues that need treatment, then an ophthalmologist may be your better choice of an eye doctor. They can provide the basic eye examinations as well as the contacts and glasses you may need, and they also will be able to assist you with any conditions of the eye that may appear throughout your lifetime. Moreover, they will be able to determine what treatment will be appropriate for you if a condition that needs treatment arises.

Conclusion:

For further information about whether an optometrist or an ophthalmologist is the best fit for you, it will come down to personal needs. If you have a long history of eye conditions within your family, an ophthalmologist most likely fit your needs the best. If you are just after someone who can provide a basic eye exam and glasses or contacts, then a optometrist may better fit your needs. Either way, both are well-qualified to care for your eyes and protect your vision. If you have more questions regarding the differences between an optometrist vs. ophthalmologist, give Hampton Roads Eye Associates a call at (757) 643-8800, or schedule an appointment online. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Tips for Healthy Vision in the New Year

eye glasses and eye chartA New Year means new goals! Your vision is a critical part of your health that often gets neglected. Consider getting your vision back on track this year by making an appointment for a comprehensive eye exam. At Hampton Roads Eye Associates Oyster Point, we provide general ophthalmology and eye disease treatment for adult and pediatric patients. We perform diagnostic and treatment procedures on children and adults including:

  • cataract surgeries
  • refractive surgery
  • cosmetic surgery
  • glaucoma testing
  • strabismus treatment
  • retina imaging
  • eye problems diagnosis and treatment
  • corrective lens services

How Hampton Roads Eye Associates Can Help
We offer comprehensive eye care services to the Hampton Roads community. In the meantime, you can take care of your vision by following these tips for maintaining good eye health.

Eat for good vision. Start incorporating healthy foods in your diet that will reduce your risk of obesity related diseases such as diabetes – which can adversely affect vision.

  • Green, leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, and collards
  • Salmon, tuna, and other oily fish
  • Eggs, nuts, beans, and other non-meat protein sources
  • Oranges and other citrus fruits or juices

Quit smoking. Smoking can increase your risk of cataracts, macular degeneration and optic nerve damage. Your overall health is greatly improved when you stop smoking.

Take frequent breaks from staring at the computer screen. Staring at the computer screen for long amounts of time can cause the following symptoms:

  • Eye strain
  • Blurry Vision
  • Headaches
  • Dry eyes

If you have extensive computer related work, it is important for maintaining good eye health to incorporate frequent “eye” breaks into your day.

Wear Sunglasses. Wearing sunglasses with UV protection will protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays. Too much exposure to sunlight can cause cataracts as well as macular degeneration.

Visit your eye doctor. It is never too late to get your vision back on track! Schedule a complete eye exam with your doctor today to get a baseline for your eye health. This makes diagnosing and treating all eye conditions more effective.

Hampton Roads Eye Associates Oyster Point looks forward to helping you maintain healthy vision in the new year. Call our office today for your yearly eye exam 757.643.8800.

 

 

 

When Do I Need To Get Glasses?

glassesIf you’re finding it hard to see clearly, it may be time for a pair of eyeglasses. We use our eyes all the time, from the time we wake up until we go to sleep at night, we watch, read and perceive objects. This is why it is essential to choose the perfect pair of glasses for yourself, as whatever you do, they will be helping you see.

Hampton Roads Eye Associates recommends that as soon as you notice blurred or distorted vision, make an appointment for an exam.  Eyeglasses can help you avoid eyestrain and headaches and can help you improve your performance at work or school.

VISION PROBLEMS CORRECTED BY GLASSES

  • Myopia (nearsightedness) is a vision condition in which close objects are seen clearly, but objects farther away appear blurred. Nearsightedness occurs if the eyeball is too long or the cornea, the clear front cover of the eye, has too much curvature. As a result, the light entering the eye isn’t focused correctly and distant objects look blurred.
  • Astigmatism (uneven focusing of light) a vision condition that causes blurred vision due either to the irregular shape of the cornea, the clear front cover of the eye, or sometimes the curvature of the lens inside the eye. An irregular shaped cornea or lens prevents light from focusing properly on the retina, the light sensitive surface at the back of the eye. As a result, vision becomes blurred at any distance.
  • Hyperopia (farsightedness) is a vision condition in which distant objects are usually seen clearly, but close ones do not come into proper focus. Farsightedness occurs if your eyeball is too short or the cornea has too little curvature, so light entering your eye is not focused correctly.

EFFECTS ON SCHOOL, WORK AND PLAY

Poor vision can have an effect on your ability to perform well at school and work. Some children, who are labeled as having ADHD, may actually have an untreated vision problem. Bad eyesight can result in a reduced attention span or in difficult understanding printed material. In addition it can be difficult to clearly see a ball or the positions of your teammates if you have vision problems. Correcting the problem with glasses and help to improve sport performance.

Eye examinations are an important part of health maintenance for everyone. Adults and children should have their eyes tested to keep their prescriptions current and to check for early signs of eye disease.  If you’ve noticed any change in your vision, make an appointment with us for an eye exam by calling 757-643-8800. 

 

5 Tips for Vision Health

vision healthYour eyes are a very important part of your health. Regular visits to your eye doctor provide sneak peeks into what your overall health is like. Doctors can tell if you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes just by looking at the back of your eyes. There are many things you can do that will keep your eyes healthy so they will serve you well throughout your life.

Have a comprehensive dilated eye exam.
Many of us do not recognize vision problems because changes occur subtly and our brains adjust quickly to compensate for these changes. Visiting your eyecare professional for a comprehensive dilated eye exam is the only way to ensure you are maintaining healthy vision.
Often people do not realize they could see better with glasses or contact lenses. Many common eye diseases such as glaucoma, diabetic eye disease and age-related macular degeneration have no warning signs. A dilated eye exam is the only way to detect these diseases in their early stages.

Know your family’s eye health history.
Discuss eye health history with your family members. Knowing a family member has been diagnosed with a disease or a condition is a vital piece of health information. Often, diseases or conditions of the eye are hereditary and this will help determine if you are at a higher risk of developing the same condition.

Eat right to protect your sight.
You’ve heard carrots are good for your eyes. Eating fruits and vegetables, particularly dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale and collard greens are excellent sources of the antioxidants that help protect your vision. Research shows omega-3 fatty acids found in fish are beneficial to your eyes as well.
Trying to maintain a healthy weight as you age will also decrease your risk for developing diseases that may impact your vision such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

Wear your sunglasses.
Sunglasses really aren’t just for looks. Sunglasses protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. When you purchase sunglasses, make sure they filter out 100% of both UV-A and UV-B radiation. Oversized sunglasses protect the soft tissue around your eyes and polarized lenses make it easier to see in bright sunlight.

Give your eyes a rest.
When you spend large amounts of time focusing on your computer, your eyes can get fatigued resulting in eye strain. To maximize your eye health and avoid eye strain, try the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look 20 feet in front of you for about 20 seconds. This trick will give your eyes the rest period that it is needed to continue your computer work with minimal detriment to your eye health.

Taking care of your eyes is very important as you age and getting a yearly eye exam is an excellent way to make sure you are staying healthy and problems are caught early. If you have not had a comprehensive dilated eye exam and would like to schedule one online contact Hampton Roads Eye Associates or call (757) 643-8800.

What can an eye exam tell you about your health?

eye exams and healthYou know that seeing your eye doctor is the best way to be sure that your eyes stay healthy. During your exam, your eye doctor may dilate your pupils so he can examine your optic nerves, retinas and blood vessels. Your eye care practitioner can tell a lot about the health of your body by looking at the health of your eyes.
 
Your Blood Pressure
If during your exam, your doctor notices kinks or tears in the blood vessels of your eyes, you may be asked about your blood pressure.  The condition of those blood vessels could suggest undiagnosed or unmanaged high blood pressure (hypertension).
 
Your Blood Sugar
Bleeding or yellowish fluid leaking in the blood vessels of the eye can signify diabetic neuropathy. Your eye care professional may encourage you to see your family physician for blood sugar screening. Properly managed blood sugar levels could save your vision.
 
Your Autoimmune System
Characterized by inflammation throughout the body, a dysfunctional autoimmune system can affect your joints, your internal organs, and your eyes. The immune system can attack the blood vessels in the back of the eye and on the retina, which can affect your vision. Anyone who has an autoimmune disorder should have regular eye exams.
 
Your Thyroid
Graves eye disease, also called thyroid eye disease, is another autoimmune disorder. In this case, the autoimmune issue causes an overactive thyroid. Symptoms could also include swelling around the eyes and protruding eyeballs. If you have a thyroid disorder, you may also notice fatigue, weight loss, and heat intolerance.
 
Your Nervous System
The optic nerve is the only area of the brain that can be seen from outside of the body. Vision problems could be one of the first signs you might notice if you were diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Researchers suggest that optic nerve scans could also provide useful information for other neurological conditions.
 
Your eye doctor would be able to detect many other health conditions before you were aware of a problem. He can warn you of suspected tumors, aneurysms, or even cancer. Your comprehensive eye exam could be your first indication that you have a more serious health concern that should be investigated by your family physician.  Early detection is important for treatment for these critical medical issues.  If you have a known medical condition, be sure to see your eye care provider as often as recommended, and notify him of any changes in your health.

Hampton Roads Eye Associates provides qualified eye care professionals who are trained to identify major health issues during your eye health exam.  Please schedule an appointment with us today, at 757-643-8800.  Our board certified ophthalmologists are ready to help you with your eye care health and treatment.  

 

HREA Oyster Point Features Dr. Steven Kitay!

VA eye doctorHampton Roads Eye Associates Oyster Point is pleased to feature Dr. Steven Kitay on our blog this month. Dr. Steven E. Kitay, M.D., joined Hampton Roads Eye Associates in 2001 as a comprehensive Ophthalmologist. He is Board Certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology. Dr. Kitay has many specialties including:

  • micro-incision sutureless cataract surgery using topical anesthesia
  • medical and surgical treatment of glaucoma
  • diabetic eye exams
  • dry eye management
  • general ophthalmic medical and surgical services

 

Dr. Steven Kitay, M.D.

Dr Kitay’s favorite part about being an Ophthalmologist is the day-to-day challenges, some easy and some difficult in helping people see better! Dr. Kitay is a cataract specialist, and has performed over 9,000 cases. He is now offering laser assisted cataract surgery and is a certified iStent surgeon. Dr. Kitay uses new technology lenses such as the Toric lens for astigmatism, the TECNIS® Multifocal Lens lens and the Crystalens.

 

Education

Dr. Kitay graduated from the University of Miami with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. He obtained his medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Kitay received his internship training at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, where he also completed his Ophthalmology Residency and served as Chief Resident during his final year.

 

Achievements/Awards

Dr. Kitay is a Fellow of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. He is a member of the Virginia Medical Society and the Newport News Medical Society. Dr. Kitay is also a Practice Liason/Physician Practice Director for Hampton Roads Eye Associates, and serves as chair for the Physician’s Advisory Panel of the Riverside Hampton Surgery Center. In 2012, Dr. Kitay was awarded the “Top Doc” Award from Hampton Roads Magazine.

 

Outside the Office

Outside of his ophthalmology practice, Dr. Kitay enjoys many pastimes including:

  • golfing
  • playing tennis
  • biking
  • spending time in the kitchen
  • working outside in the yard.

 

Dr. Kitay resides in Newport News with his wife and two children. Read on to learn more about Dr. Steven Kitay.

At Hampton Roads Eye Associates – Oyster Point, our top priority is your eye health! We offer comprehensive eye exams for patients of any age, specialized eye care and treatment for a broad range of vision problems to the Hampton Roads community. Our Optometrists and Ophthalmologists are highly qualified in all areas of eye care. Schedule your exam online or call us today (757) 643-8800.

Congratulations! Dr. Gary Tanner Voted “Top Doc” for 2016

top doc 2016

Top Doc 2016 – the votes are in!

Hampton Roads Eye Associates Oyster Point is pleased to announce that Dr. Gary Tanner has been voted one of the “Top Docs” in Hampton Roads for 2016 by Coastal Virginia Magazine! The survey was sent to over 4,000 doctors in the area. Each doctor was given the opportunity to complete the peer survey identifying the top professionals they regard as being leaders in their fields. The 2016 Top Doc peer survey is the most selective list in the area, and a wonderful resource for the community.

Dr. Gary Tanner, M.D., a Board Certified Ophthalmologist, joined Hampton Roads Eye Associates in 2006, but has been serving patients in the Tidewater area since 1993 when his military service brought him to Virginia.

Dr. Tanner, a Diplomate of the American Board of Ophthalmology, specializes in the latest techniques in cataract and oculoplastic surgery. In addition, he has extensive training and experience in the care of glaucoma, diabetic eye disease, and dry eyes, as well as comprehensive eye care.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Gary Tanner on his achievement! We love serving the Hampton Roads community with the highest quality comprehensive eye care.