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Optometrists and Ophthalmologists: Working Together For Your Eye Health

Optometrists and ophthalmologists often work together to help you maintain your long-term eye health and vision. This collaboration is known as eye care co-management.

How do they coordinate, and which eye conditions require co-management? Our eye doctors explain more below:

Common Co-Managed Eye Conditions

When it comes to eye care co-management, your optometrist works with a trusted ophthalmologist, each offering their own expertise.

Common eye conditions that may require co-management include:

  • Glaucoma
  • Cataracts
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Macular edema
  • Macular degeneration
  • Retinal diseases and detachment
  • Corneal conditions
  • Laser eye surgery
  • Severe dry eye disease

How Does Co-Management Work?

Your local optometrist will likely be your first stop when co-managing a condition. Whether as part of your annual comprehensive eye exam or as a result of specific symptoms, your optometrist will run a number of tests that are meant to detect signs of eye disease such as bleeding in the eye or elevated inner-eye pressure.

If issues are detected, your optometrist will diagnose the specific condition and pinpoint its cause. The optometrist will decide whether to continue monitoring your condition or refer you to an ophthalmologist, who will decide if more in-depth medical treatment, including eye surgery, is required.

Once you’ve been referred, your ophthalmologist will perform extensive tests and decide on medical treatment. This may include specific prescription medications as well as surgery, if necessary.

Following your treatment with the ophthalmologist, continuing your eye care is essential. Your ophthalmologist will ask you to schedule a follow-up appointment with your optometrist, who will monitor your progress and recovery. Continuing to see your optometrist will ensure the highest likelihood of maintaining your eye health and vision, and the optimum long-term recovery from any surgery or medical treatments.

For more information about co-management of your eye care, speak to our eye doctors today!

Q&A

What is diabetic retinopathy?

Diabetic retinopathy is an eye disease where high blood sugar causes bleeding of the blood vessels at the back of your eye. This causes new fragile blood vessels to grow, which also begin to bleed. Blood and other fluid then begin to collect in the back of the eye, causing significant vision loss, up to and including blindness.

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a common eye condition in which high inner eye pressure causes damage to the optic nerve at the back of your eye. This nerve is responsible for sending visual data from your eyes to the brain, where it is interpreted into a coherent image. Damage by untreated glaucoma can cause significant vision loss, including blindness.