Understanding Ophthalmology and Eye Care

What is Ophthalmology?

Ophthalmology focuses on the eye and its related systems. The most common conditions include cataracts, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration. Other issues include corneal and external diseases, oculoplastics, and neuro-ophthalmology.

Based on the proportion FTEE data of 40 practices, the highest mean allocation is comprehensive care, followed by retina/vitreous, pediatric ophthalmology, oculoplastics and uveitis.

Comprehensive Eye Exams

Ophthalmology focuses on the anatomy, physiology and diseases of the human eye. The field of ophthalmology includes the medical treatment of eye disease as well as surgical procedures. It is a broad field with many sub-specialties including glaucoma, cornea, pediatrics and adult strabismus.

Yale’s ophthalmologists provide comprehensive eye exams, including medical and surgical management of cataracts, macular degeneration, dry eyes and blepharitis, and conjunctivitis. Our glaucoma specialists offer state-of-the-art diagnostic techniques such as OCT and fluorescein angiography. Our contact lens specialists use the latest in contact lens materials and designs for treating myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism.

Please be sure to remove your contact lenses prior to your appointment. Your eyes may be dilated during the exam, which can make them blurry or sensitive to light for a few hours. Students who have waived Yale Health Hospitalization/Specialty Care coverage should seek services from providers that accept their insurance. Contact information is listed on their insurance cards.


In medicine, diagnosis is the determination of what disease or disorder is affecting a patient. It is the medical professional’s determination based on research and physical examinations of the symptoms presented by the patient. The word is also used to refer to the actual result of that determination.

The process of diagnosing a condition involves taking a detailed health history and performing a physical exam. In addition, blood tests and imaging tests may be needed to help make a diagnosis.

Once all of the information is gathered, the healthcare provider can come up with a list of possible conditions that could be causing your symptoms. This list is called a differential diagnosis.

The healthcare provider will then select tests that will eliminate the conditions on the differential diagnosis list and reach a final diagnosis. A differential diagnosis can seem overwhelming, but remember that the goal is to find out what’s causing your symptoms. In some cases, the prognosis isn’t important, but in other cases it can be life changing.


Ophthalmology is the medical specialty that deals with the anatomy, physiology and diseases of the human eye. Ophthalmologists treat a wide range of conditions including cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma and dry eye.

Ocular surgeons offer several advanced new surgical procedures – safer and more effective than older surgeries – for the treatment of glaucoma. Yale doctors were among the first in the country to perform trabectome, a procedure that creates a glaucoma drainage canal, and also pioneered canaloplasty, which is similar to angioplasty for the eyes.

The outpatient surgery section at Yale-New Haven Hospital contains three contemporary ophthalmic surgical operating rooms equipped with Zeiss microscopes and state-of-the-art phacoemulsification units, as well as foldable intraocular lenses for cataract surgery. YAG laser capsulotomy, a procedure that opens the cataract capsule to allow light to pass through, is also available. YAG laser surgery is done as an outpatient, usually in less than 15 minutes, and does not require any surgical cuts.


Most people view surgery as a last resort, and they want to know that the operation has a high chance of success before undergoing it. However, they also want to be fully informed about any risks that the procedure might entail. They also want to know what type of follow-up care they will need after their surgery. Depending on the type of surgery, they may require a stay in a rehabilitation facility or the assistance of a home health aide.

Before surgery, you will be given medications to help you relax and to prepare your body for anesthesia. You will be taken to the operating room, where nurses will monitor your condition for a few hours. After the procedure is over, you will be moved to a recovery room and your parents can visit you there. Post-surgery guidelines vary from person to person but it is recommended that you rest as much as possible and follow the doctor’s instructions closely.

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