Optometry

Trust your vision care to Essentia Health’s optometrists. Our eye experts will help you see the world as it should look.

Find out more about eye care on our Ophthalmology page.

What’s an Optometrist?

An optometrist is a doctor of optometry (OD), who has specialized training in the diagnosis and treatment of vision and eye conditions. ODs prescribe eye glasses and contact lenses, low vision aids, vision therapy, medication and perform minor surgical procedures.

When to See an Eye Doctor

Make an appointment with an Essentia eye doctor if you experience symptoms such as:

  • Blurry vision or change in vision
  • Eye pain
  • Red eye
  • Stye, or a pink lump at the eyelid’s edge

Eye Care Team

Depending on your needs, you may work with:

  • Ophthalmologist – Medical eye doctor and surgeon
  • Optometrist – Doctor of optometry who prescribes glasses, contact lenses, and eye medications.
  • Certified ophthalmic assistant – Professional who helps an eye doctor take tests and measurements

Conditions Treated

See the full list of conditions we treat, and select a condition to find providers and locations near you.

Conditions

Vision Screenings & Diagnostic Tests

Protect your eyesight with regular screenings and eye exams. These exams can catch vision problems early, when they’re easiest to treat.

If a screening finds something unusual, or you have symptoms of an eye problem, your doctor may order a diagnostic test. Depending on your symptoms, you’ll receive a test that looks at your vision or the physical structure of your eye. Your doctor uses the results to determine if you have an eye condition.

Eye Strain

Learn about eye strain and how to prevent it when spending a lot of time on screens.

Medical Insight: Eye Strain Video Transcript

(DESCRIPTION)
The Essentia Health logo appears, consisting of three leaves in a circle. Text, Essentia Health. Medical Insight. A video montage depicts various people using electronic devices, such as cell phones, and laptops.

(SPEECH)
TRACY BRIGGS: We are a nation of screen devotees. According to a 2016 Nielsen report, the average American spends 10 hours a day behind screens, from computers to smartphones, tablets, and TVs. And it's impacting our eyes. Optometrist Alexander Moses sees the effects of eye strain every day at Essentia Health St. Mary's in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. He says eye strain happens in part because focusing on something close up makes the eye work harder. Add to that the sheer number of hours we spend online, and the problem intensifies.

(DESCRIPTION)
Dr. Alexander Moses, optometrist, speaks to the camera near vision equipment.

(SPEECH)
ALEXANDER MOSES: One of the things about screens is they're backlit. And so you not only the eyes are working hard to focus at something near, but you also have light coming into the eye, you have glare that you wouldn't have off of a paperback. So there is added strain when looking at an electronic screen.

(DESCRIPTION)
Photograph of a woman taking her glasses off to rub her eyes.

(SPEECH)
TRACY BRIGGS: Dr. Moses says you may have eye strain if your eyes are dry and scratchy, your vision isn't always clear, you have trouble keeping your eyes open, or you get headaches, especially after a lot of screen time. ALEXANDER MOSES: One of the ways you get a headache is these focusing muscles-- they're very small, fine-tuned muscles. And when they're overworked, you start recruiting other muscles. And that's where you get the furrowed brow, and people saying, god, I feel like I'm squinting at the end of the day. And so that absolutely can lead detention headaches and strain. TRACY BRIGGS: Dr. Moses recommends you try the 20-20-20 technique to prevent eye strain. For every 20 minutes of screen time, look away for 20 seconds about 20 feet in the distance. Also, experiment with different display settings on devices to see if it eases eye discomfort.

(DESCRIPTION)
Insight host, Tracy Briggs, speaks near a computer monitor.

(SPEECH)
According to Dr. Moses, even more important than your screen settings is looking at your work environment. Make sure your computer screen is at the right height and you don't have a window either right behind you or your screen. Those things could be adding to your eye strain. Try making those changes to see if it helps. If it doesn't, don't hesitate to make an appointment with your eye doctor. With this Essential Health Medical Insight, I'm Tracy Briggs.

(DESCRIPTION)
The Essentia Health logo appears, consisting of three leaves in a circle. Text, Essentia Health. Medical Insight.

Surgical & Nonsurgical Eye Care

Visit an Essentia optical shop for a broad selection of high-quality eyeglasses and contacts. If your eyes need more care, ask your doctor about eye surgery or vision rehabilitation. If you're in need of surgery, you will be referred to an ophthalmologist.

Dry Eye Treatment

Ask your doctor for tips on relieving dry eyes, such as cleaning your eyelids daily.

If your dry eye symptoms won’t go away, you may benefit from LipiFlow. This treatment can open up clogged glands that prevent lipid (oil) from flowing freely in your tears. LipiFlow gently warms and presses on the glands to make the oil flow better and naturally keep your eyes moist.

Macular Degeneration Treatment

If you have age-related wet macular degeneration, ask about injection treatment. A doctor will numb your eyes and then regularly inject medicine to help maintain your vision.

Make an Appointment

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Monday - Friday: 8 am - 5 pm
844-663-1068

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