What is the Difference Between and Ophthalmologist and and Optometrist?

What is the Difference Between and Ophthalmologist and and Optometrist?

This is a question that is asked quite frequently.  You may be confused about the difference between an optometrist and and ophthalmologist (Eye MD). These two professions differ in the amount and type of training.  They also differ in what conditions they are able and comfortable to treat.

Ophthalmologistoptometrist vs ophthalmologist

An ophthalmologist (Eye MD) is a medical doctor who completed an undergraduate degree, four years of medical school and a four year residency.  During the residency, the ophthalmologist is trained to perform surgery on the eye.  One of the most commonly performed surgeries is cataract surgery.  They are also trained to diagnose and treat diseases of the eye.  Ophthalmologists can also prescribe glasses and contact lenses at your appointment.

Some doctors opt to also complete a one or two year fellowship program to sub specialize in certain eye conditions.  The sub-specialty areas include glaucoma, retina, pediatrics, plastic surgery, cornea, neuro ophthalmology and uveitis.  Ophthalmologists who have sub-specialty training may feel comfortable caring for and performing surgery on more complex eye conditions.

Optometrist

An optometrist has completed and undergraduate degree and four years of optometry school.      An optometrist has a doctor of Optometry (OD) degree.  They primarily perform eye exams and vision tests, prescribing and dispensing glasses and contact lenses, detecting certain eye diseases, and prescribing medications for some eye diseases.  Optometrists typically do not perform surgical procedures on the eye.

Eye Examinations

It is important to maintain regular comprehensive eye examinations to not only check for the need for glasses but also to check for diseases of the eye.  Many diseases of the eye become more common with age and are easier to treat if diagnosed at an earlier stage. Dr. Stanley Grandon, Dr. Cindy Wang and I can perform a comprehensive eye examination to check the health of your eyes.

Alaina Kronenberg, M.D.
Cataract Specialist
Comprehensive Ophthalmologist
Dearborn, Michigan 48126


Vision As You Age

The Aging Eye

With the aging eye, you may notice more difficulty driving especially at night and in the rain. There are many diseases of the eyes that can contribute to more difficulty driving. These changes often become more common at age 60 or older. A comprehensive eye examination by Dr. Stanley Grandon, Dr. Cindy Wang and I can help diagnosis and treat eye diseases.

It is recommended at age 60 to have a yearly dilated eye examination. If you have a family history of certain diseases of the eye such as glaucoma or macular degeneration it is important to initiate regular eye examinations at an earlier age.

Normal Changes as You Ageaging and eye health

As you age, it is normal to rely on glasses for near vision tasks. It is also normal to need more light when reading and feel it takes longer to adjust when you move from the light to dark or vice versa. You may notice changes in your contrast sensitivity. A comprehensive eye exam can ensure you are in the best pair of glasses possible.  As you age, you may need glasses that correct for both distance and near tasks.

Eye Diseases

Vision loss is not a normal part of aging. As you age, you become more likely to develop diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma and age related macular degeneration. Many diseases of the eye are easier to treat if diagnosed at an earlier stage. Some eye diseases can lead to blindness if not treated properly. If diagnosed and treated at an earlier stage, you are more likely to maintain adequate vision for the rest of your life.

If you feel you are uncomfortable with your vision especially when driving, you may have a cataract. Cataract surgery may be indicated if it is interfering with you daily tasks.

Alaina Kronenberg MD
Eye Surgery Institute
15212 Michigan Ave
Dearborn, MI 48126


January is Glaucoma Awareness Month

Glaucoma is a blinding disease | Eye Surgery InstituteJanuary is Glaucoma Awareness Month

Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of irreversible blindness.  Your vision loss can often be prevented with early diagnosis and treatment.  There are often no symptoms in the earliest stages.  The vision loss is usually first in the periphery.  Later more advanced stages can cause total blindness.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology advises the public that the best defense against developing glaucoma-related blindness is by having routine, comprehensive eye exams.  Dr. Stanley Grandon, Dr. Cindy Wang and I test for glaucoma at the time of your examination regardless of the reason for the visit.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is an eye disease where damage to your optic nerve causes vision loss that is not reversible.  It often happens when fluid builds up in your eye and may be related to eye pressure .  This extra fluid can damage your optic nerve and cause you to lose your vision.  You will often not notice vision loss from the earlier stages.  There is usually no pain or symptoms associated.

How is Glaucoma Diagnosed?

Dr. Stanley Grandon, Dr. Cindy Wang and I may suspect it if your intraocular pressure is elevated or if your optic nerve looks that is may have damage.  Up to half of patients with glaucoma do not have an elevated intraocular pressure when examined.  If we have a high suspicion, extra tests such as a peripheral vision test (a visual field), a picture of the optic nerve and checking the thickness of your cornea (pachymetry) may be recommended.  Depending on the level of suspicion, we may decide to observe you or opt to initiate treatment.

If My Doctor Diagnosed Glaucoma Does That Mean I am Going Blind?

No!  It can be treated by various modalities.  It is important to diagnose it at an early stage.  Dr. Stanley Grandon, Dr. Cindy Wang and I will often initially treat your glaucoma with a once daily drop at bedtime.  We are trying to lower your eye pressure.  Depending on your response to the medication and the severity of your disease, we made opt to add additional drops.

We can also treat it with laser.  This laser is often performed in the office.  It can be used in addition to your drops or sometimes instead of your drops, depending on the severity of your disease.

If your disease is not adequately controlled with drops and /or laser, you may require surgery to achieve control.  There are several surgical options that can be performed.

Alaina Kronenberg, M.D.
Cataract Specialist
Comprehensive Ophthalmologist
Dearborn, Michigan 48126


Diabetic Eye Exams

Diabetes

Diabetes is a disease in which your body’s ability to either produce or respond to the hormone insulin is impaired.  This causes abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates and elevated levels of glucose (sugar) in both the blood and urine.

More than 100 million adults in the USA have either diabetes or pre diabetes.  Over 30 million Americans or 9.4% of the population have diabetes.  Many people are not aware that they have diabetes.

Most cases of type 2 diabetes. can be prevented.  Diabetes-related complications can include blindness, non-traumatic amputations, and problems with your kidneys requiring dialysis.  You are more likely to have type 2 diabetes  if you are overweight.

Diabetic Eye ExamsDiabetes | Alaina Kronenberg MD | Eye Surgery Institute

If you are a diabetic you should have a yearly dilated eye examination.  Many people may be reluctant to come to an ophthalmologist because they think their medical insurance will not pay for the examination.  Medical insurance will cover the eye examination.

If we see changes in your eye from diabetes, Dr. Stanley Grandon, Dr. Cindy Wang and I may recommend special photographs of the back of the eye to determine the extent of the changes.  We will also recommend more frequent eye examinations to monitor the diabetic eye changes.  It is important to maintain regular follow up care.

Treatment

If your diabetic eye disease progresses, you may need treatments to help maintain your vision.  Treatment may be indicated if you have swelling in the center of the vision (diabetic macular edema) or if you have blood vessels growing that are not supposed to be there (proliferative diabetic retinopathy).  Treatment options may include injections of medications into the eye and/or laser eye treatments.  The purpose of the treatments are to help you maintain your vision. If your diabetic retinopathy is not adequately treated, you could loose your vision.  Diabetes can cause permanent blindness.

 

Alaina Kronenberg, M.D.
Cataract Specialist
Comprehensive Ophthalmologist
Dearborn, Michigan 48126


Eyelid Twitching

Eyelid Twitching

Eyelid twitching is a common complaint that from patients.   You are often very concerned about the health of their eye.  The medical term for twitching is called myokymia.  It can occur on either the upper or lower eyelid and it is a repetitive involuntary spasm of the muscle.

If you are experience this, Dr. Stanley Grandon, Dr. Cindy Wang or I can perform a comprehensive eye examination to determine the health of your eye.  We will focus on the surface of the eye to make sure that it looks healthy.

CausesEyelid twitching| Alaina Kronenberg MD| Eye Surgery Insittute

Twitching can be caused by many things.   Some causes include stress, fatigue, dry eyes, blephartis (inflammation of the eyelid), too much caffeine, irritants in the environment and a foreign body touching the eye.  Certain medications can also cause eyelid twitching sometimes.

Treatment Options

It is important that we treat the underlying cause of the twitching.  If signs of dry eyes or blepharitis is detected then we can initiate dry eye or blepharitis treatment.  This may include over the counter drops, prescription eye drops, lid hygeine, warm compresses and ointments.  We will determine what treatment is best for your condition.  If a foreign body is detected, removing it may help also.  It is important for you to minimize irritants in your environment also.

Is It Serious?

Usually twitching is not the sign of a serious underlying problem. If the spasms become chronic, you may have what’s known as benign essential blepharospasm.  This is the name for chronic and uncontrollable blinking.  This can sometimes be treated with injections into the muscle area.  Very rarely, eye twitching may be a sign of certain brain and nervous system disorders.  Most importantly, it is almost always accompanied by other signs and symptoms.   Conditions that can cause this include Bells Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, Tourettes and Parkinson’s Disease.

In summary, most of the time eyelid twitching is not the sign of a serious medical condition.  Treating the surface of the eye can be helpful.

Alaina Kronenberg, M.D.
Cataract Specialist
Comprehensive Ophthalmologist
Dearborn, Michigan 48126


Ultraviolet Light and the Eyes

What are the Effects of Ultraviolet (UV) Light and the Eyes?

Ultraviolet light has been linked to the progression of several eye conditions.  The most common conditions are the development of macular degeneration and cataracts.  Both of these conditions can affect the quality of your vision.  Ultraviolet light rays can also cause ptergium (fleshy growths on the eye surface that grow onto the cornea) and eye cancers such as melanoma and basal cell carcinoma.

Macular degeneration can potentially lead to irreversible blindness.  Cataract development can affect the quality of your vision and sometimes require surgery to improve the vision.  Although most people develop cataracts as they age, cataracts can develop quicker due to ultraviolet light.

Ultraviolet Light Protection for the EyesUltraviolet light | Alaina Kronenberg MD | Eye Surgery Institute

When you purchase sunglasses, you want to look for ones that eliminate 100% of UV A and UV B rays.  The glasses do not necessarily need to be expensive.  The darkness of the lens is not as important. Most lenses will state the amount of UVA and UVB protection that they provide.

Lenses that wrap around the side of your face provide more protection than regular sunglasses.  Wearing a hat with a large rim can also be helpful.  Although some contact lenses do offer some UV protection, it is important to also wear sunglasses if you are a contact lens wearer to protect your eyes.

Detecting Eye Problems

Dr. Stanley Grandon, Dr. Cindy Wang and I can perform a comprehensive eye examination to detect eye conditions.  If a problem does develop, it is often better to diagnose and offer potential treatments early.  We can perform a dilated eye exam and check for problems.  The Eye Surgery Institute also sells good quality sunglasses that can help to protect your eyes from sun damage.

 

Alaina Kronenberg, M.D.
Cataract Specialist
Comprehensive Ophthalmologist
Dearborn, Michigan 48126


Eye Allergies

Itchy, Red Eyes

Allergy season is quickly approaching!  Do you suffer from seasonal ocular allergies? Are your eyes usually itching and red?  Are they feeling uncomfortable?  What is the cause of these symptoms and can anything be done?  Itching and redness can be very frustrating and uncomfortable.  You may be suffering from eye allergies.  Sometimes it is nearly impossible to avoid being exposed to the things we are allergic to.

You may have tried over the counter remedies to see if they can improve your symptoms.  If the over the counter treatments are not providing proper relief, it is important to have a comprehensive eye examination to determine the cause of your symptoms.  Your condition may or may not be ocular allergies.  You want to consider when your symptoms occur most.  Are they worse in the morning or evening?  Are they worse during a particular season of the year?

Diagnosis of Ocular Allergiesocular allergies | Alaina Kronenberg MD

Dr. Stanley Grandon, Dr. Cindy Wang and I will take a complete history and perform an eye examination.  It is important to distinguish if your eyeballs feel itchy or your eyelids are bothering you more.

Itchy eyes are often a symptoms of ocular allergies.  You may also complain of watery eyes, stringy mucous discharge, eyelid swelling, and irritation.  Ocular allergies are when the eyes are exposed to allergens.  Different patients can react to different allergens.   Your symptoms are often due to release of histamine and mast cells and symptoms will often vary during different seasons depending on what the allergen is that is causing your symptoms.

If your symptoms are more affecting your eyelids, you may be suffering from blepharitis instead of eye allergies.  Blepharitis is inflammation of the eyelid margin and the eyelids can become itchy, red and irritated.

If you wear contact lenses sometimes your condition can be related to your contact lenses.  You may have developed a sensitivity to your contact lenses or be wearing them too much.

It is important for your doctor to make the proper diagnosis so we can offer the treatments that will improve your symptoms.

Treatment of Eye Allergies

If you suffer from eye allergies, it is important to try to avoid the allergen if possible.  Ocular allergies are often initially treated with eye drops that are antihistamines and mast cell stabilizers.  These medications work more effectively if they are used regularly during your allergy season.  If your symptoms are severe, we may add a short course of a mild steroid eye drop also.  Sometimes chilled artificial tears can also help your symptoms.

Alaina Kronenberg, M.D.
Cataract Specialist
Comprehensive Ophthalmologist
Dearborn, Michigan 48126


Eye Myths Part 3

Eye Myths Part 3

Do you ever wonder if eye myths told to you by your family and friends are true?

Myth: If you lot a lot of carrots it will improve your vision.

Carrots have beta-carotene and are a good source of vitamin A.  Eating carrots will not improve your eye site regardless how many you eat.  It is always important to maintain a healthy diet with fruits and vegetables.

Myth:  Reading in the dark can damage your eyes.Eye Myths | Eye Surgery Institute | Alaina Kronenberg MD

We have all read in the dark.  The only thing this will cause is eye fatigue.  Your eyes will become tired a bit quicker causing words to seem blurry but this is only temporary and no permanent damage has been done to your vision.

Myth:  Starring at the computer all day will ruin your eyes.

When you stare at anything for an extended period of time you tend to blink less causing dryness and eye strain but will not affect your vision.  This can occur with reading, any kind of screen use, even watching tv or driving for a long time.  It is recommended for you to take regular breaks and frequently glance away from the computer when working for an extended amount of time.  Sometimes an artificial tear drop can help with eyes that feel tired or blurry.  Staring at the computer will not cause permanent damage to your vision.  If your eyes constantly feel dry with prolonged screen time Dr. Cindy Wang, Dr. Stanley Grandon and I can evaluate you and offer treatments to help make your eyes more comfortable.

Myth:  Crossing your eyes will make them stay crossed forever.

When you cross your eyes to be funny it may cause some laughs from your friends but it will not cause permanent damage to your eyes.  Afterwords, your eyes will return to the normal position.  This will not cause any permanent problems to your eyes.

Alaina Kronenberg, M.D.
Cataract Specialist
Comprehensive Ophthalmologist
Dearborn, Michigan


Cataract Surgery and Implant Options

Cataract Evaluation

If you have been previously diagnosed with a cataract or if you feel you are experiencing blurry vision, a comprehensive eye examination is important.  The examination can determine if the cataract is the source of your visual complaints.  If the cataract is the source of your complaints, we can complete a cataract evaluation and discuss with you the options.

Most people develop a cataract as they get older.  Surgery is recommended when the cataract is interfering with your day to day activities.  Patients may experience difficulty driving especially at night or in the rain and bright sunlight.

Examinationcataract surgery | Alaina Kronenberg MD

A comprehensive eye examination involves checking your visual acuity, refracting to see if new eyeglasses can improve your vision, a slit lamp examination and a dilated examination.  Dr. Stanley Grandon and I will also take a comprehensive medical history.  This is done to assess for any conditions that would increase the risk of a problem during surgery.

If  the cataract if the cause of your visual complaints, Dr. Stanley Grandon and I will discuss with you the risks and benefits of surgery as part of the cataract evaluation.  We will take the time to discuss implant options with you.  For example, if you have astigmatism you may be a candidate for a toric implant to correct the astigmatism.  If you have a desire to be less dependent on glasses for near activities, you may be a candidate for a presbyopic implant that allows some vision for near and intermediate activities.

Cataract Surgery Implants

When I first trained, monofocal intraocular implants were primarily used.  Most patients still required glasses after their surgery due to either astigmatism and/or near vision needs.

Many patients have astigmatism and benefit from a toric intraocular implant.  I discuss the option of this implant with all patients who have corneal astigmatism.  It reduces the dependence on glasses after surgery.

Multifocal implants can help correct vision both at distance and for near activities.  These intraocular implants can work well for patients who wish to be less dependant on glasses for both distance and near and intermediate vision.   To determine which implant is best for you, it is important to understand your visual needs.  For example, do you wish to have better intermediate or reading vision?  Are you willing to accept that you may have decreased contrast sensitivity or some halos at night?

The extended depth of focus implants (Symfony) corrects vision provides more of a continuous vision by using an extended range of focus technology.  This lens will be a good option for patients who have a desire to be less dependent on glasses for all activities.  You may still need a low power reading glasses for some up close activities.

Alaina Kronenberg, M.D.
Cataract Specialist
Comprehensive Ophthalmologist
Dearborn, Michigan


Can I Use My Medical Insurance to Visit the Eye Doctor?

 

What are medical insurance and vision insurance plans?

There is much confusion regarding what type of insurance you can use when you go to the eye doctor.  Most people do not understand the difference between medical insurance and vision insurance plans.  Most ophthalmologists practices accept both medical insurance and vision insurance plans.  The Eye Surgery Institute is a medical practice and the majority of our examinations are billed to your medical insurance.  Dr. Stanley Grandon and I are board certified ophthalmologists and we care mostly for medical eye conditions.

An examination is considered a medical eye exam if Dr. Stanley Grandon, Dr. Cindy Wang or I are evaluating and treating a problem, disease or particular complaint.  For example, if you are being treated or evaluated for common eye conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts or age related macular degeneration (ARMD) it is considered as a medical appointment.  Also, if you are requesting the appointment for a complaint such as pain, irritation, itching, headaches or redness it is also considered a medical appointment.

What Do I Use My Vision Plan For?Eye Surgery Institute | Alaina Kronenberg MD

A vision exam is an examination for a prescription for eyeglasses or for contact lenses.  At the Eye Surgery Institute, we will also check the general health of your eye.  We will inform you if any problems or concerns are noted.  If particular concerns are raised Dr. Stanley Grandon, Dr. Cindy Wang or I may request for you to return to the office for a medical appointment.

You can also often use your vision plan to help in purchasing glasses or contact lenses.  It is important that you learn the benefits of your vision plan and the coverage options.   We offer a full service optical department that also accepts most insurance plans.

How Do I Know If My Insurance is Accepted?

Our experienced staff can assist you with your insurance choices when you call for your appointment.  It can be very confusing to determine the difference between medical insurance and vision insurance plans.  When you arrive to our office, we will also verify your insurance plan.  You are responsible for knowing any co-pays or deductibles with your plan.

 

Alaina Kronenberg, M.D.
Cataract Specialist
Comprehensive Ophthalmologist
Dearborn, Michigan