Oculase Articles

Reasons to be referred to an eye specialist

Mr Tariq Ayoub - 1 Sep 2021

Has it been a while since you had a regular eye exam? Have you noticed something different about your vision, in the appearance of your eyes or felt any discomfort?

You’ve probably been to the pharmacy and picked up a bottle or two of eye drops. And for straightforward eye health problems, an optometrist, ophthalmic medical practitioner or GP may be able to help.

But if you develop a new eye condition, your optometrist or GP may refer you for a specialist assessment. This could help identify underlying problems.

This page explains what the different kinds of eye specialists do and the main reasons for a referral.

What is an eye specialist?

The eye is a complicated organ with an intricate network of nerves and blood vessels. Many complex eye conditions need diagnosis and treatment with specialist equipment and know-how.

There are several kinds of eye-healthcare professionals:

  • Dispensing opticians fit people with their glasses and contact lenses, based on a prescription. But they do not do the actual eye tests.
  • Optometrists undergo training to detect eye problems. They provide prescriptions for glasses, contact lenses, other vision aids and, in some cases, medications.
  • Ophthalmic medical practitioners are medical doctors who took further training after medical school. They work specifically on the eye, including its surface and surrounding tissues.
  • Ophthalmologists are eye surgeons. Their work includes medical and surgical care of the eyes and visual system. They also study how to prevent eye injury and disease. Often, ophthalmologists work in teams with optometrists and other eye care professionals.
  • Orthoptists specialise in treating eye movement problems, double vision and squints.

Learn more in our video with consultant ophthalmologist Tariq Ayoub, an eye specialist in London and Birmingham.


Five reasons to be referred to an eye specialist

A visit to the optometrist or GP can help identify changes, problems or symptoms affecting your eyes. You may go to a specialist appointment if they find something that needs a more in-depth assessment.

Because an ophthalmologist is a medically trained surgeon, they can help make a more accurate diagnosis. They are also often able to detect serious eye diseases at an early stage by using state-of-the-art tests.

Here are five reasons why you may get referred to a specialist:

  1. You experience a sudden change in your eyes, such as partial or full loss of vision
  2. You experience pain, inflammation or have an eye injury
  3. You develop vision problems that glasses or contact lenses can’t correct. Examples include cataracts and more pronounced refractive errors
  4. You need surgery to remove a melanoma (cancer) in the eye or correct various types of eye misalignment
  5. You have a medical condition that may be affecting your eyesight, such as glaucoma, high blood pressure or diabetes.

See an eye specialist in London or Birmingham

Keeping informed of the options for treatment is crucial to making a decision about your eye care.

When our clinic receives a referral from your GP or optometrist, we will ask you to come for a consultation. Ophthalmologists may assess and treat patients in a clinic, surgery or hospital.

Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon Mr Tariq Ayoub is the founder and director of Oculase – The Eye Clinic. He works at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and sees patients privately at various locations in London and Birmingham.

Mr Ayoub received Specialist Certification in Refractive Surgery (Cert-LRS) by the Royal College of Ophthalmologists. He is also on the specialist register of the General Medical Council.

His extensive experience enables him to consider and treat your condition in the context of your overall health care needs.

Please contact us if you have any questions about vision care.

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