Ophthalmologists... The Eye Doctors
|Synergism...working toward excellence in eye care today
vol. 1 issue 2
Ophthalmologists...The Eye Doctors
by Edward R. Annis, M.D.
Frequent complaints heard in social gatherings are the inconveniences and frustrations of having to see several doctors in the course of seeking diagnosis and treatment of medical problems.
These often justified irritations prompt a question: Have we ever tried to compare good health with the other good things in life? We live in an age of man made marvels. Putting men on the moon was a great scientific and technical achievement. Computers talk to one another reflecting man's ability to duplicate a small portion of the potential of the human brain. These and other accomplishments are deserving of praise and pride, but not one exceeds the record of modern medicine when listing the greatest of man's achievements.
Moon walks and computer developments have resulted from the combined knowledge and talents of many and different people and so has medical progress. The speed of change during the space age of medicine has produced a need for the education of talented men and women who concentrate years of study to become specialists in limited areas of medical practice.
Most of today's family physicians have had four years of college, four years of medical school and at least three or more years of graduate study as residents before they enter active practice. The training of certified specialist in family practice enables them to provide quality care for most of the everyday problems encountered by their patients, many of which are serious but which respond well because of their training and expertise. Additionally today's well-trained family physicians recognize those problems which require consultation and treatment by their colleagues whose expertise is limited to specialized areas of study. It is this combination of well-trained and qualified family physicians and the specialists' services available to them that has make American medical the world's leader.
Almost on a daily basis the media remind us of some of the many spectacular accomplishments of medicine, especially in the field of surgery. The ability to prevent or control infection combined with the rapid growth of technical tools has make it possible to study and treat almost all portions of the human body.
Expanded knowledge allows for many operations to correct deformities in the newborn. Damaged hearts can often be repaired. Hundreds of people have had transplants of different organs and many have benefitted from artificial hearts while waiting for a heart transplant. New diagnostic tools like CAT scanners and Magnetic Resonance Imaging allow x-ray specialist to demonstrate problems which in the past were hidden deep inside the brain or other parts of the body. One could make an almost unending list of fantastic discoveries that have made possible for most of our citizens a quality of health care never before available to any people anywhere in the world.
Among the many physicians who have become true specialists because of concentrated study in limited areas of the body are the ophthalmologists -- the eye doctors.
Of our five senses certainly sight must be listed as number one in importance. Our eyes are extensions of our brains and provide us with windows to the world around us. Loss of the ability to see -- to be blind -- is a personal tragedy, especially if it can be prevented, its problems recognized and vision protected or restored. This is the role of the ophthalmologist. But in addition to the ability to recognized problems in need of correction the trained eye specialist can also look through the window into the eye itself and detect changes indicating the possible presence of high blood pressure, diabetes, brain tumor and many other disease.
So great has been progress in the ability to recognize and treat the many and different problems that can and do occur that many eye doctors have become specialist in very limited areas of diagnosis and treatment. Many of these are eye surgeons.
For many years surgeons have been able to correct squint or cross eyes medically known as strabismus. Corneal transplants are well recognized as consistently successful procedures to replace a corneal scarred by injury or infection. Less well understood by people generally is the fact that more than all other eye injuries and diseases combined are the three great threats to the ability to see, namely, cataracts, glaucoma and diseases of the retina.
Subsequent articles will in greater detail discuss each of these often complex conditions which demand the service of physicians educated and skilled in their recognition and proper management.
The American College of Eye Surgeons
Since our first newsletter, many readers have contacted us and asked us for more information about the American College of Eye Surgeons. First, it was established by ophthalmologist to help insure that quality care is always available to everyone who needs it. In 1984, fifteen of the top ophthalmic surgeons met to discuss the best method of insuring the highest quality standards available. Now, the American College of Eye Surgeons has developed into a professional organization whose fundamental objective is to promote high quality standards in ophthalmologist surgical service. To achieve these ends, the American College is working to involve all people in achieving its goal.
Synergism, the newsletter, is one of its many projects. This issue is the second and is intended to introduce you to the general field of ophthalmology. When we speak of the field of ophthalmology, we speak of the doctor, his support staff, you, the patient, and the individuals who assist you in paying for your care. These, along with the teachers, scientists, and medical research, have made the field of ophthalmology one of the most advanced in the field of medicine.
Many of you have had cataract surgery and are aware of the changes over the past few years. From long hospital stays to out-patient surgery from bed rest to being up the same day. These advances, using new surgery skills and equipment, have done much to guarantee excellence in eye care but changes outside of the doctor's actual care can greatly influence these and future advances. To keep you abreast of these possible outside changes, the American College of Eye Surgeons will involve you by keeping you as informed as possible on what is being done that can influence your care. We encourage you to contact your doctor or the American college of Eye Surgeons at Odessa. Your questions will be answered to the best of everyone's ability. If a course of action is needed to insure excellence, everyone will work together towards its solution. Excellence is eye care is a right to all citizens. It is our goal to insure that right.
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