Ophthalmology is the study of everything related to the eyes. This specific branch of medical science covers the physiology, anatomy, and disorders that could impact the eyes. Other than this, it also involves the diagnosis and treatment of various medical conditions related to the human eye. Also known as eye specialists, ophthalmologists are doctors who specialise in the medical and surgical treatment of the organ. They deal with the prevention, diagnosis, and medical care of the eyes and are trained in both surgical techniques and pharmacological therapies.
Branches of Ophthalmology
There are different branches of ophthalmology, also known as sub-specialties. Some of them are:
Anterior Segment Surgery
As the name suggests, this branch of ophthalmology focuses on the anterior segment of the eye, which includes the cornea, iris, ciliary body, and lens. Eye doctors with a specialisation in anterior segment surgery are trained to perform complex surgical procedures in these structures.
Also known as a posterior segment or retinal ophthalmology, this sub-specialty is related to retinal and vitreo-retinal diseases. It includes the diagnosis and treatment (both medical and surgical) of these medical conditions. Some of the common procedures performed under this branch of ophthalmology include laser therapy, vitrectomy, cryotherapy, retinal detachment surgery, etc.
Cataracts and Refractive Surgery
This is a distinct field of ophthalmology with a major focus on the health of the organ. Generally, these eye specialists perform complex surgeries in order to correct refractive errors in the human eye.
Cornea and External Disease
This is a field that deals with diseases related to the cornea, conjunctiva, sclera, and eyelids. Some common conditions that fall under this branch of ophthalmology are corneal dystrophies, inflammation, microbial infections, and tumours of the conjunctiva or cornea. Eye doctors with a specialisation in the cornea and external diseases perform corneal refractive and corneal transplant surgeries.
This subspecialty is all about the diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma and other disorders that increase intraocular pressure. It also focuses on conditions that are caused by severe damage to the optic nerve. These eye specialists treat these medical conditions with either medicines or surgical procedures.
As the name suggests, neuro-ophthalmology is a combination of neurology and ophthalmology. This particular sub-speciality includes the diagnosis and treatment of ophthalmic conditions that have a neurological component associated with them. Generally, these eye specialist doctors use non-surgical techniques to treat a medical condition. However, eye and orbit surgery may be required in some cases.
This sub-specialty is all about the diagnosis and treatment of patients with ocular cancer or eye cancer. There are many different types of eye cancer, depending on the part of the organ they affect. Some of the most commonly affected parts include the surface of the eye, structures inside the eye, or tissues surrounding the eye.
As the name implies, this subspecialty is a combination of ophthalmology and pathology. The major focus of this branch is on diseases of the eye and its neighbouring tissues.
This subspecialty is all about eye conditions that affect children. Some of the most common medical conditions are strabismus (also known as misalignment of the eyes), amblyopia, genetic abnormalities, and neoplastic disorders.
Oculoplastics and Orbit Surgery
Oculoplastics and orbit surgery is a subspecialty that is related to ophthalmic plastic surgery techniques. Some of the common procedures performed by these eye specialists include orbital surgery, upper facial reconstructions, and cosmetic lid surgery.
Uveitis and Immunology
This branch of ophthalmology is focused on immune-mediated ocular conditions. Such medical conditions can also cause inflammation of the iris, ciliary body, or choroid of the eye.
When to See an Ophthalmologist?
Generally, people consult an ophthalmologist when they experience any vision-related problems. These problems can include:
- Bulging Eyes
- Reduced or Distorted Vision
- Double Vision
- Excessive Tearing
- Eyelid-related Problems
- Seeing Halos around Lights
- Misaligned Eyes
- Floaters in the Vision Area
- Seeing Flashes of Light
- Eye Redness
- Loss of Peripheral Vision
Other than these conditions, there are a few more ophthalmic conditions for which one needs urgent eye care. These are:
- Sudden Vision Loss
- Severe Eye Pain
- Eye Injury
Common Medical Conditions
Any medical conditions that are related to vision Ophthalmologists can treat and monitor certain medical conditions. Some of them are:
- Retinal Conditions, such as macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy
- Corneal Conditions
- Condition with a neurological component
Other than providing treatment for these conditions, an eye specialist doctor also deals with complex surgical procedures, such as reconstructive surgery or advanced vision repair.
Here are a few things that increase an individual’s chances of developing vision-related problems:
- High Blood Pressure
- Family History of Eye Conditions
- Thyroid Condition
Narayana Health is a leading healthcare group headquartered in Bengaluru, India. With a large team of doctors, they are providing advanced levels of care in over 30 specialities. Here, one can findsome of the best eye doctors in India, with best-in-class treatment being offered.