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What is an Ophthalmologist?

An ophthalmologist is a physician who specializes in the medical and surgical care of the eyes and visual system and in the prevention of eye disease and injury. They provide a full spectrum of care including routine eye exams, diagnosis and medical treatment of eye disorders and diseases, prescriptions for eyeglasses, surgery, and management of eye problems that are caused by systemic illnesses. Ophthalmologists can be medical doctors (M.D.) or doctors of osteopathy (D.O.).


After completing 4 years of undergraduate study at a college or university, ophthalmologists attend 4 years of medical school to obtain an M.D. or D.O. degree. After graduating from medical school, they complete a 1-year internship and 3 years of training in ophthalmology in a residency program approved by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). Following residency, ophthalmologists may enroll in a 1- to 2-year fellowship program. A fellowship offers the opportunity to develop expertise in a subspecialty such as:

  • Corneal diseases

  • Retina and vitreous diseases

  • Glaucoma

  • Pediatric eye problems

  • Plastic surgery

Ophthalmologists are licensed by a state regulatory board to practice medicine and surgery. In addition, they are board certified, which means that they have passed a rigorous two-part examination that tests their knowledge and ability to provide expert care. The examination is administered by the American Board of Ophthalmology, and if the doctor passes, he or she becomes a board-certified ophthalmologist.

About Your Eye Exam

An eye exam is a straightforward painless procedure, but there are still a few things that you should be aware of to make your day as stress free as possible.


Your visit may require that your pupils be dilated for a complete examination of your inner eye. Dilation is very important for people because it allows for a more thorough evaluation of the health of the inside of your eyes. A dilated exam will better reveal ocular conditions such as macular degeneration, retinal detachments, retinal tears, tumors, glaucoma and cataracts. A dilated exam can also reveal problems associated with ‘whole-body’ diseases like diabetes and hypertension. Finally, with dilation your doctor can identify conditions still in their early stages and often without symptoms – helping us to minimize long-term vision loss.

Dilating your pupils is easily accomplished with eye drops, but may affect your vision for several hours after the exam. Because of this, we recommend that you wear sunglasses when leaving the office, especially on sunny days. If you don’t have sunglasses wear after the exam, disposable sunglasses will be provided to help you drive home.

How Long?

Even though the tests themselves are relatively brief, we recommend that you allow one to two hours for your first examination in case other tests are found to be needed.

Your Records?

In the interests of your better health, we will send a report to your family physician and other physicians involved in your care. To assist us with this please have the name and addresses of your physicians available for us when you arrive for your first visit.


The Cornea & Laser Vision Institute does ask for some information regarding your past health history to be provided prior to being seen your first visit. In an effort to make your visit more expedient, please download, read, and fill out the following Forms from home prior to your visit.


General Ophthalmology

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