Optometrists and ophthalmologists are eye doctors that provide a range of comprehensive eye care services such as prescribing contacts and glasses. Both are qualified to diagnose a range of eye diseases and disorders. Both can also perform testing or prescribe medications for eye conditions.
When examining the difference between an optometrist and an ophthalmologist, the significant differences between the two are the specializations of each profession as well as the education backgrounds they possess.
An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor that specializes in vision and eye care. They complete four years of undergraduate study and four years of medical school. After this is achieved, they spend a minimum of four years in residency or hospital-based training. Ophthalmologists are trained to perform eye exams, diagnose eye diseases, and treat eye them. They are mainly trained to perform eye surgeries in both a hospital setting and in-office.
An optometrist is someone who has a Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree and specializes in eye exams for vision and health problems, such as diabetes. They also specialize in prescribing eyeglasses and contact lenses to patients to correct refractive errors. Some optometrists may also provide vision therapy and low vision care rehabilitation for patients who can’t be entirely treated by surgical, medical, or conventional eyewear. Additionally, optometrists are trained to treat a wide range of medical eye conditions such as dry eye symptoms or macular degeneration.
If you have healthy vision and you don’t require specialized surgical treatment, choosing between an optometrist and an ophthalmologist is based on what you prefer. Both an ophthalmologist and optometrist are trained to:
After the specialist treats your condition, your primary optometrist or eye doctor will monitor and manage your condition going forward if you are pleased with the care you’ve received from your primary eye doctor.