Talking to Your Eye Specialist

Getting Started

Your eyes are sensitive, so they need your protection -- especially if you have new eye symptoms. Not all eye conditions are serious, but some are. At the first sign of any problem with your eyes or vision, see an eye specialist for treatment. Use this guide to prepare for your visit -- think about what you want to tell and ask your eye doctor.

Choosing an Eye Specialist

  • An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who is trained to diagnose and treat vision problems, eye diseases, and eye injuries. Ophthalmologists can prescribe medication, perform eye surgery, and prescribe glasses.
  • An optometrist (doctor of optometry or OD) is also trained to diagnose and treat vision problems, as well as certain eye diseases. ODs can prescribe glasses and contact lenses, vision aids and therapy, and (in some states) medications for certain eye diseases. If you have a condition or injury that requires surgery or other medical treatment, your optometrist can refer you to an ophthalmologist.