When it comes to your vision health, it’s critical to see the medical provider who best fits your needs. It’s easy to confuse the optometry and ophthalmology professions, yet each plays a different yet vital role to your eye health. We want to start by offering two direct and general definitions:
An optometrist is an eye specialist with a optometry degree who is trained to prescribe glasses and contact lenses, conduct low-vision therapy, and diagnose and treat a few eye diseases.
An ophthalmologist is an eye specialist who is also a medical doctor, having trained as a medical doctor through medical school first, then an EyeMD./Eye Surgeon second While an ophthalmologist is qualified in all the same areas as an optometrist, they have more extensive, longer education in the medical diagnosis and treatment of eye conditions and also perform eye surgery.
(For lengthier definitions, see the American Optometric Association and the American Academy of Ophthalmology).
Here at Takle Eye Group, we have four ophthalmologists who provide care for our patients: Dr. Leiv Takle Sr., Dr. Leiv Takle Jr., Dr. Blaine Cribbs and Dr. Benjamin Baumrind. Each provider has extensive medical training and is licensed to practice medicine and surgery in Georgia and who are board certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology. While ophthalmologists are trained to care for all eye problems and conditions, some also specialize in a specific area of medical or surgical eye care. For example, Dr. Benjamin Baumrind is a surgical retina specialist, treating such conditions as diabetic retinopathy, retinal tears and detachment, macular degeneration and more.
We’re pleased to have Dr. Ruchi Gandhi on our team as an Optometrist, providing primary vision care, ranging from vision testing, contact lens fitting, and routine eye care. Under her expertise, many common eye ailments can be quickly diagnosed in the clinic, often without any invasive diagnostic procedures.
The importance of maintaining the best possible vision throughout our lifetime can hardly be overstated. Entrusting your eye health to a highly qualified provider is essential. From routine eye exams to various eye disease diagnostics and treatment, Takle Eye Group provides comprehensive eye care for your entire family under one roof.
At Takle Eye Group we understand that insurance coverage can be confusing. One concern of particular importance to the patients of Takle Eye Group is the difference between a Medical Eye Exam and Vision Plan/routine eye exam. Of course, coverage options vary per patient, but we hope this blog and future information published on our website will help clear up the difference between the two.
It is recommended that you have your eyes examined every one to two years depending on your age. A Routine Eye Exam through a Vision Plan is usually performed by an optometrist as it is usually used as a screening exam. A Medical Eye Exam is usually performed by an ophthalmologist (an eye doctor who is also an M.D.) but can also be performed by a optometrist (an eye specialist with a Doctor of Optometry degree, but who is not a medical doctor).
Vision Plan/Routine Eye Exams generally include the following:
- Distance vision test, using a chart with letters that decrease in size
- Eye movement test, as your eyes follow a small light from one side to the other
- Refraction test, using various lenses
- Color blindness test, using cards that have colored dot patterns
- Slit-lamp examination, which provides a magnified view of the eye for better inspection
- Eye pressure test, to screen for glaucoma
- Dilated exam, using drops to dilate the pupils in order to examine the inside of your eyes
- Vision Plan/Routine Eye Exams do not cover further specific testing as that follows under Medical examinations.
In addition to the Routine Eye Exam, such factors as age, health, pre-existing medical problem, and family history may require a Medical Eye Exam. The Medical Eye Exam is typically performed by an ophthalmologist (an eye doctor and medical doctor) but can also be performed by an optometrist. Typically, Medical Eye Exams are covered under medical insurance and not vision plan insurance because of the need for testing which is usually not covered under a Routine Eye exam/Vision Plan, and the costs for Medical Eye Exams are typically higher than Vision Plan/Routine Eye Exams and include higher copays. Reasons that one may need a Medical Eye Exam include:
- Ocular Hypertension/Glaucoma
- Diabetes or diabetic retinopathy
- Cataracts (Blurry Vision)
- Conjunctivitis or pink eye
- Other eye disease or condition
The providers at Takle Eye Group perform both Medical Eye Exams and Routine Eye Exams, so it is extremely important for patients to call both their vision and medical insurance providers to check coverage before their appointments. While the office staff does their best to answer any patient questions, it is the patient’s responsibility to be familiar with the details of their plan coverage.
The providers and staff at Takle Eye Group are here to provide the best comprehensive medical eye care available. Because when it comes to your vision, why settle for anything less?