Eye Care EducationWhat Does an Optometrist Do?

Imagine life without clear vision. Your entire day would be changed. Our eyes are vital for our daily routines. An optometrist is a doctor whose job is to help us maintain healthy vision, but they do so much more than just prescribe glasses or contacts as needed. Truly, they examine, diagnose, treat, and manage eye-related diseases for their patients, and treat eye injuries. One of the main differences between an optometrist and an ophthalmologist is that an ophthalmologist can perform surgery.

An optometrist can…

  • Perform routine vision exams
  • Diagnose vision problems
  • Diagnose and manage eye disorders
  • Offer suggestions for improving vision

Perform Routine Vision Exams

Routine eye exams set a baseline for your eyesight. A routine exam will provide images and tests that can identify and monitor your eyes for disorders and diseases. It is very common for an optometrist to find diseases and disorders in early stages and be able to provide treatment that can prevent further problems to arrive. Tests may include acuity, and eye pressure and measurement testing.

Diagnose Vision Problems

Perhaps your vision is simply blurry and requires a prescription for either glasses or contacts. An optometrist is a primary doctor who is able to both evaluate and prescribe any correction that your eyesight may benefit from. Some people choose glasses, others choose contacts, and some choose both! Additionally, if corrective surgery is an option, this may be an option that your optometrist can discuss with you.

Diagnose and Manage Eye Disorders

Macular degeneration and cataracts are two eye disorders that an optometrist can help manage. Macular degeneration is an eye disorder that can blur your central vision. Cataracts is a cloud over the lens of your eye and are very common for senior citizens. An optometrist can diagnose as well as help you manage both diseases through providing treatment and monitoring them.

What is an appointment with an optometrist like?

Visiting the optometrist is very routine:

  • You will have a general eye exam where you share your medical and family history.
  • Your eyes will be checked, using an ophthalmoscope, to check for glaucoma, macular degeneration, and other diseases associated with the eyes. An optometrist can provide/ prescribe treatment for these eye diseases if necessary.
  • You will do a visual acuity test to determine your vision and, if correction is necessary, contacts or glasses may be prescribed.

When should I see an optometrist?

If you are unsure of whether you should see an optometrist or not, consider your situation. Do you:

  • Wear corrective lenses, or think you need glasses or contacts
  • Have a chronic disease like diabetes, which has a greater risk of eye disease
  • Have a family history of vision loss or eye disease 
  • Take prescription medications that affect your eyes

If you have any of the following symptoms, make an appointment as soon as possible:

  • Eye pain
  • Blurred vision or double vision 
  • Circles that look like halos around lights 
  • Red, irritated eyes
  • Floaters, or specks that float before your eyes 
  • Flashes of light

If you need to schedule an appointment with an optometrist, contact the professionals at the Eye Center of Northern Colorado. Call us at (970) 221-2222. Our professionals are eager to serve you!


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