Ophthalmologist and Optometrist: What's the Difference?

Most people do not understand the difference between an ophthalmologist and an optometrist. The two are involved in eye care, but they function differently. Both play a vital role in enhancing eye health, but their expertise and levels of training are different.


If you have eye issues, knowing whom to go to will make a difference in the service you get. You should understand the difference between an ophthalmologist and an optometrist.




Who Is an Ophthalmologist?



Ophthalmologists specialize in vision and eye care. Their expertise, training, and the conditions they identify and treat are on a higher level than optometrists.


Ophthalmologists complete at least three years of college before going for eight extra years of specialized medical training. They get a license to practice both medicine and eye surgery. They detect and treat eye diseases of all types. They also recommend and fit contact lenses and glasses to correct different vision problems.




Who Is an Optometrist?



This is an eye health professional who helps provide vision care from testing to correction. They are involved in diagnosing, treating, and managing sight changes. Optometrists have a doctor of optometry (OD) degree that they receive after four years of optometry study. The degree comes after three years in college.


Optometrists get a license to conduct eye exams and perform vision tests. They prescribe and give out corrective lenses, and they help spot eye abnormalities.




Understanding the Difference



The health of your eyes will depend on the eye doctor you see. Knowing the difference between these two will help you make the right decision. If you have a specific eye condition such as glaucoma, seeing a subspecialist in the area will help.


Subspecialist ophthalmologists have extra training in specific areas. Choosing the eye care provider you need will depend on the condition in need of treatment.




Getting Routine Eye Care



Optometrists are the primary care providers for routine eye care. You can visit an optometrist for eyeglass or contact prescriptions, your annual eye exam, and treatment of some eye conditions.


An optometrist can diagnose eye conditions and perform minor procedures. However, they do not treat serious eye conditions or provide surgical treatment. Your optometrist will refer you to an ophthalmologist if you need additional care for your eye condition. An optometrist can prescribe some medications for certain eye conditions.




Specialized Eye Care



If you need specialized care for an eye condition, you may need to visit an ophthalmologist. Ophthalmologists specialize in surgical procedures, and they can treat a wide range of eye and vision conditions. They diagnose and manage both internal and external eye conditions.


They receive training in different subspecialties and perform surgical procedures. Ophthalmologists can perform the same functions as optometrists, such as conducting routine eye exams and refilling eye prescriptions.


Seeing an eye doctor at the right time can determine the health of your eyes. These two play a vital part in providing much-needed eye care to patients. You should see the right professional for your needs.



For more on ophthalmologists and optometrists, visit Coers Family Eyecare, PC, at our office in Columbus, Indiana. You can call (812) 408-8400 today to schedule an appointment.

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