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 may have been to the pharmacy and picked up a bottle or two of eye drops. For straightforward problems, an optometrist or GP may be able to help. However, they may refer you for a specialist assessment to 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 knowledge.
There are several kinds of 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, they work in teams with other eye care professionals.
- Orthoptists specialise in treating eye movement problems, double vision and squints.
Learn more in our video with Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon, Mr Tariq Ayoub:
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 we are medically trained surgeons, we can help make a more accurate diagnosis. We can often detect serious eye diseases at an early stage by using state-of-the-art tests.
Reasons you may get referred to a specialist include:
- A sudden change in your eyes, such as partial or full loss of vision
- Pain, inflammation or an eye injury
- You develop vision problems that glasses or contact lenses can’t correct. Examples include cataracts and more pronounced refractive errors
- You need surgery to remove a melanoma (cancer) in the eye or correct various types of misalignment
- A medical condition may be affecting your eyesight, such as glaucoma, high blood pressure, or diabetes.
Book an appointment
Keeping informed of your treatment options is crucial to deciding on your care. When our clinic receives a referral, we will ask you to come for a consultation.
Mr Ayoub received Specialist Certification in Refractive Surgery (Cert-LRS) from 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 healthcare needs.