Dr. Robert Maloney believes that a well-informed patient is key to successful vision correction surgery. He wants to be sure that you fully understand what you can expect from your procedure you choose. He wants to help you care for and preserve your eyesight in the best way possible. Here, you can find the information that you need to help you make informed choices about health care for your eyes.

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In the United States, comprehensive eye exams can be performed by ophthalmologists and optometrists.

What's the difference between these specialists?
An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor (MD), like an orthopedic surgeon, neurosurgeon, or plastic surgeon, who has completed medical school, an internship, and an ophthalmology residency to learn the medicine and surgery of the eyes, eyelids, and ocular system. Cataract and refractive surgeons are ophthalmologists who further specialize in surgical correction of vision and focusing problems.

An optometrist, also called an optometric doctor (O.D.), specializes in primary eye care including vision correction and medical conditions of the eye. Optometrists can prescribe glasses, contact lenses, and medications, but they do not perform surgery. If an optometrist diagnoses cataracts or eye disease, he or she will refer the patient to an ophthalmologist for treatment. Many optometrists work closely with ophthalmologists to comanage the preoperative and postoperative care of cataract-surgery patients.

An optician fits and dispenses eyeglasses and, in some states, contact lenses. Outside the United States, some countries license ophthalmic opticians to perform eye exams.

Who Performs Cataract Surgery?
The surgical treatment of cataracts should be done by an ophthalmologist-one who is well qualified, experienced, and respected by colleagues and patients. You can find out about a doctor's credentials from his or her office, the local medical society, a hospital where the doctor is on staff, or the HMO, if applicable. Several sources on the Internet give you access to national and state sources of physician information.

Ask your optometrist or primary-care physician to recommend an ophthalmologist. If you have cataracts, consider seeking an ophthalmologist who specializes in treating cataracts. If you're leaning toward a particular doctor, arrange to talk with a few of his or her patients. Since cataract surgery is so common, you should have no trouble finding people who have had the procedure.

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